The Russian government has been accused of using social media as a way of gaining control of public opinion in the country, with its supporters posting photos of the government officials they want to see arrested, the New York Times reported on Wednesday.
The arrests come amid a spike in Russian activity on social media in the run-up to the December parliamentary elections.
According to the Times, people have been posting messages such as “Russia has been invaded,” “we are fighting fascists,” and “this is a victory.”
The arrests are the latest in a series of events that have alarmed people in the Kremlin’s stronghold, the capital, which is known for being the seat of the Communist Party, the country’s main political force.
The government has repeatedly claimed that Russia has been targeted by foreign hackers and spies.
The government has blamed the leaks on an array of groups, including foreign governments, foreign media outlets and domestic groups, in an effort to destabilize the Russian economy.