Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast / Photos via Getty
MOSCOW–Thousands of Russian internet users have been piling into the audio-based chat app Clubhouse, which, of all places, has become the go-to spot to vent about living in an authoritarian political system.
This week has been chock-a-block with Clubhouse news. On Saturday, Elon Musk publicly invited Russian President Vladimir Putin for a chat on the app. Another avid Clubhouse user is Luiza Rozova, a 17-year-old alleged by independent Russian media to be Putin’s illegitimate daughter. She recently used the platform to share insights about her university major, her aspirations for a career in fashion, and her apparent affinity for wildly unhinged conspiracy theories. And in an unusual public airing of views on a typically hush-hush topic, 300 Russian journalists, lawyers, and human rights defenders joined an open room on Clubhouse to discuss the spy case against one of Russia’s leading reporters covering military affairs, Ivan Safronov, who has been imprisoned on charges of treason for over six months.
In July, the Federal Security Service arrested Safronov, placing him in Lefortovo, one of Moscow’s most notorious prisons where he faces a term of up 20 years. The agency accused Safronov of working for the Czech secret service and passing along classified information about the Russian military. Investigators claim that the U.S. was the final recipient of the secret information delivered by Safronov in 2017.