Joining the likes of the Dalai Lama, Barack Obama, the Pope, and the five million pageviews of Dave Carroll's "United Breaks Guitars", Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has launched his own channel on YouTube to grab the attention of the youthful Digerati in his country.
While President Dmitry Medvedev may be Premier Putin's figurehead, he certainly is forward-thinking when it comes to pushing Russia into the information and communication age. Currently ranked 60th behind even the Ukraine and Belarus, the president criticized Russia's lack of leading 'e-government' computer infrastructure stating the situation was "unacceptable."
Leading by example, the Kremlin launched a new website and YouTube channel, coinciding with the nationwide September 1 back to school day.
The video is an address from Medvedev to students, one of just a few videos on the page so far, but the Kremlin plans to continually update the Web site with Medvedev's addresses and speeches.
"YouTube is very popular, and we hope to increase our audience through it not only by reaching out to the users of the Russian segment of the Internet, but also the Russian-speaking Internet users in other countries," said Medvedev's spokesperson.
Active in the social networking space since April 22, 2009, the Russian president has been a member of LiveJournal, the dominant social media site popular with Russian Internet users. In his inaugural post, Medvedev solicited comments from the public, a rare opportunity for citizens to communicate directly with their leader. On July 6, 2009, when Medvedev met for the first time with Obama, one would have to speculate if the Russian president asked advice from the American president regarding his success with social media.
Obama and Medvedev meeting July 6, 2009
Here's hoping Putin will allow the President the latitude to continue exploring the boundaries of social media while opening up new channels of communication with the West. Right now, he can only be as successful as his puppet-master will allow.