Take, for instance, a viral video released this week, which tries to discredit Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s chief antagonist, the charismatic blogger Aleksei Navalny, by comparing him to Hitler.
The ad, which matches some of Mr. Navalny’s gestures and words at protests in December to archival footage of Hitler, was posted on a Russian blog devoted to mocking Mr. Putin’s opponents. It was accompanied by a headline warning that a revered Bulgarian mystic once said that Hitler would return in the 21st century, and text that implored viewers to “not allow this prediction to come true!”
Although the video was uploaded to YouTube on Wednesday, it attracted relatively few viewers until Mr. Navalny himself drew attention to it on his Twitter feed the next day. In the following 24 hours, it was viewed nearly 100,000 times.
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