Earlier this week, it was reported that a Facebook rally had encouraged thousands to take to the streets and protest against the elections that saw Putin’s party claim a victory. Demonstrators insist the elections were rigged.

However, while Russians have flooded Facebook and Twitter to organise more protests, it appears that thousands of Twitter accounts have also been created to block out opposition voices.

Automated attacks have sent a flurry of meaningless tweets with popular opposition hashtags – such as #Navalny, on which tweets about opposition blogger Alexei Navalny are collated, making it impossible to follow the flow of news about his arrest.

Alleged hacking and counterattacks point to the weaknesses of the web as a tool for organising opposition political movements.

The Guardian also reports a more unusual case of hacking, involving the telephone as opposed to online.

According to the broadsheet, the liberal Yabloko party and newspaper Novaya Gazeta had their telephone lines paralysed by endless calls featuring a recorded female voice that said: “Putin is very good. Putin loves you. Putin makes your life happy. Love Putin and your life will fill with meaning. Putin does everything for you. Remember, Putin does everything just for you. Putin is life. Putin is light. Without Putin, life has no meaning. Putin is your protector. Putin is your saviour.”

Nothing like learning by rote, eh?