Collective consciousness of Russian blogosphere and the issue of short memory

blogosphere by Murketolog

Today I read an article by Svetlana Romanova on the “collective unconsciousness.” Her main argument was that Russian blogosphere is consuming news and moving on very quickly. Sometimes, no one can remember what was discussed several months ago. She brought several examples of those “forgotten heroes,” such as: soldier Andrei Sychev, a former soldier of Russian army, who was tortured and severely beaten up by his fellow soldiers in 2005. Due to gangrene of his both legs doctors had to amputate them.

Portuguese/now Russian girl Sandra, and her story sparkled debates in the blogosphere the following video received many angry comments on Youtube in May 2009.

Sandra was taken away from her Portuguese foster parents. Her mother Natalia worked in Portugal, eyewitnesses claim seeing her drunk quite often. One day she gave out her child to the foster family. Later on she had some problems with documents, changed her mind and took Sandra back to Russia. After five years spent with her Portuguese family, Sandra is now home with her mother in the village of Yaroslavl region.
In the video her mother precisely says that “stupid Portuguese upbringing spoiled the girl” and slaps her several times.

In 2010 Russian blogosphere was actively discussing a car accident on Leninsky prospekt in Moscow, involving a Mercedes of the vice-president of Russian oil company Lukoil and Citroen with two women inside. The women, Olga Alexandrina and Vera Sidelnikova, died in this accident. Later on the case was closed by the Moscow’s police department, it was precisely said that “the investigation ruled that the driver of Citroen C3 violated traffic rules, which led to the accidental deaths.” This all created a feeling that “the closing of the investigation of the notorious car crash involving the vice president of Lukoil has many Moscow residents saying that the rich and powerful can get away with anything on the roads.”

All the stories provoked wide debates in Russian blogosphere, at the same time Russian officials had to comment on those events. Despite all the fuss, problems in Russian army as well as the terrible traffic situation are still there.

Of course, the news on the internet follow each other quickly and people forget the past events easily. This situation is not specific for the blogosphere only, but for the news in general. For example, people were discussing tragedy in Haiti not that long ago. And now everyone is talking about an earthquake in Japan, and a dangerous situation with Fukushima, as if Haiti never happened.

However, it seems to me that the blogosphere does not simply digest events and throws them into web’s dump; bloggers are still trying to change things for better and help those “heroes.” Of course, this is not always possible, and not always things can be changed. Nevertheless, they manage to draw attention to the problem and sometimes even [somewhat] frighten those in power.

I cannot say that the actions of bloggers have been completely meaningless in any given situation. I think it is important to draw public attention to a specific issue. Prior to internet’s existence people had no such opportunity. It was necessary to make superhuman efforts to do so, but now you can turn to influential bloggers, ask for help and bloggers will be able to disseminate information. Then media gets involved, and later the information spreads virally.