RT, Russia’s largest state-sponsored propaganda outlet formerly known as Russia Today, is well known for its anti-West bias and dubious-at-best reporting. The outlet was created in 2005, with the goal of spreading the Kremlin’s narrative abroad.
While questionable as a news source, RT is innovative in its projects. The most recent example is found in its attempt to live-tweet the events of the Russian revolution, 100 years later.
2017 marks the 100-year anniversary of the Russian Revolution to overthrow the Tsarist empire. RT has taken on a project to allow individuals to watch the events of the revolution unfold in real time, as if they were happening live on Twitter. Below is one of the promo videos released in anticipation of the project’s full launch:
The project has been in a soft-launch phase since December 2016, and RT unveiled its fully operational website on Monday. The website includes a timeline of the revolution’s major events, a quiz that users can take to test their knowledge of the revolution, historical audio and video from the time, background information on the major players involved in the revolution, and a link to the project’s Twitter account.
Along with the full launch of the website, RT has upped the ante on its Twitter game. RT has created over 50 Twitter accounts based on historical figures who were involved in the revolution. From Stalin to unknown peasants, RT is sharing the stories of those who witnessed the events of a century ago.
Responding to a request from the Independent Journal Review for further information about the project, Kirill Karnovich-Valua, the Head of Online Projects at RT said:
“Our task is not only to recount historic events in Twitter’s dynamic and intense style, but to spark global interest in one of the biggest geo-political events of the 20th century, which may not be widely understood in the West. Basically, we attempted to create the first-ever monumental social media drama involving dozens of online characters—their lines are short 140-digit messages, and the stage is Twitter.”
He continued, “The audience is not a passive spectator, but an active member of the play.” Below are just a few of the tweets from 1917LIVE accounts that have already documented some of the events of the 1917 revolution.
There are decades where nothing happens; and there are weeks where decades happen #1917LIVE
— Vladimir Lenin (@VLenin_1917) January 15, 2017
— Nicholas Romanov (@NicholasII_1917) February 11, 2017
— Gendarme Zavarzin (@Gendarme_1917) February 14, 2017
— Alexander Kerensky (@Kerensky_1917) February 27, 2017
The events that RT plans to live-tweet coincide with actual dates, but in accordance with the Gregorian calendar. The events of the February revolution — which occurred from February 23 to March 3 on the Julian calendar — will be tweeted on their Gregorian counterpart, from March 8-16.
Karnovich-Valua opened up to IJR about the work that has gone into the project thus far:
“The toughest challenge was to go through an enormous amount of historic materials, to organize it day-by-day and start adapting it to Twitter format.”
He indicated that much more is to follow, telling IJR about ongoing plans to launch a new hashtag which he hopes will enable individuals to be more involved in the drama.
“We are already seeing an huge interest in the project among Twitter audience,” he said. “The Revolution is just beginning.”