Russian Officials Warn Google Not To ‘Meddle’ In Elections By Hosting Navalny Videos

File Image of Laptop Computer, Tables and Mobile Device, adapted from image at energy.gov

(Article ©2018 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Sept. 5, 2018 – also appeared at rferl.org/a/russian-officials-warn-google-not-meddle-in-elections-hosting-navalny-videos-youtube/29472527.html) Russian officials say they have warned U.S. Internet giant Google against “meddling” in local elections scheduled for this weekend by allowing Kremlin foe Aleksei Navalny to post videos calling for mass protests on YouTube. Representatives of Russia’s election commission, the Prosecutor-General’s Office, […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s VK announces privacy changes to protect users from arrest” – bne Intellinews

File Image of Laptop Computer, Tables and Mobile Device, adapted from image at energy.gov

“Russia social media site vKontakte (VK) expanded its privacy functions to give its users more tools to protect them from arrest, the company said …. The Kremlin has been cracking down on online criticism of the government. Vedomosti reports that of 182 criminal cases launched in 2017 for social network posts, 138 were based on VK posts, with another four […]

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Maria Trofimova: “[SEELANGS] European University at Saint Petersburg Reopens Its International Programs”

Bookcase file photo, adapted from image at nlm.nih.gov

Subject: [SEELANGS] European University at Saint Petersburg Reopens Its International Programs Date: Wed, 15 Aug 2018 From: Maria Trofimova <mtrofimova@EU.SPB.RU> Dear SEELANGers, I am happy to let you know that on August 10 2018 European University at Saint Petersburg has received a new educational license. After a forced year without students we are opening our doors for them again. This […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Mail.ru Group calls for amnestying people convicted of extremism over reposts, likes” – Interfax

Montage of Instagram, Twitter and Facebook Logos, adapted from image at nps.gov

MOSCOW. Aug 15 (Interfax) – The Mail.ru Group has urged the State Duma, the Supreme and Constitutional Courts, and the Justice Ministry to decriminalize the activity of social media users and amnesty persons convicted on such counts. “We have sent the following official petitions today: we urged the State Duma to initiate the submission of a bill on the amnesty […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Don’t ‘overdo’ it online, if you fear the fuzz; A linguist explains the messy science that fuels Russia’s anti-extremism policing” – Meduza

File Image of Laptop Computer, Tables and Mobile Device, adapted from image at energy.gov

“The number of ‘extremist’ crimes committed in Russia has been growing for the past several years. According to the ‘Sova’ analytical center, police launched 563 extremism investigations in 2016 and 858 new cases in 2017. Most of the suspects in these investigations are ordinary Internet users who have expressed their political views on social media. Dozens of these people have […]

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Kremlin Spokesman Still Uses Telegram Despite Ban

File Image of Laptop Computer, Tables and Mobile Device, adapted from image at energy.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – April 26, 2018) Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said he still uses the Telegram messaging service despite the state regulator’s efforts to block it from being accessible in the country. Regulator Roskomnadzor began enforcing a court ordered ban on Telegram on April 16 after the messaging app refused to grant the Russian security services access to […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Silicon Valley Giants Face a Test in Russia; Russian censors are going after Telegram, but the pressure is on Amazon, Google and Facebook too” – Bloomberg/Leonid Bershidsky

Montage of Instagram, Twitter and Facebook Logos, adapted from image at nps.gov

“The Russian authorities’ first experiment with blocking a popular messenger application — Telegram — is not working out so far. The web censorship agency, Roskomnadzor, has blocked millions of internet addresses to beat Telegram into submission, but it’s still widely available even without any bypass mechanisms, while numerous legitimate sites have experienced downtime. … Russian social networks have exploded with […]

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RUSSIALINK: “State TV Still Biggest and Most Trusted News Source for Russians – Poll” – Moscow Times

Adapted File Photo of TV Set in Russia with Camera, Camerman, Woman on Set in Background

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – April 18, 2018) A new survey has shown that state-run television maintains its hold on the Russian public’s news consumption habits despite a trend in which young Russians are increasingly getting their news online. Among Russians polled by the independent Levada Center, 85 percent said they watch television for news about Russia and the world. […]

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NEWSLINK: “The Russian government blocks Navalny’s website, as Instagram caves to the censor’s demands and YouTube wavers” – Meduza

Montage of Instagram, Twitter and Facebook Logos, adapted from image at nps.gov

“When the dust finally settled, the morning after Valentine’s Day, it was Instagram – not YouTube – that had complied with orders from Russia’s federal censor to delete content flagged as a privacy violation by a court in Ust-Labinsky. On February 9, Instagram was given three weekdays to delete 14 posts uploaded by a self-described escort who calls herself ‘Nastya […]

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Roskomnadzor threatens to block sites that don’t delete info from Navalny film by Wed night

File Image of Laptop Computer, Tables and Mobile Device, adapted from image at energy.gov

MOSCOW. Feb 14 (Interfax) – Roskomnadzor has given websites that have yet to delete the information contained in the film made by Alexei Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation until Wednesday evening to do so, saying they will be blocked if they do not comply. “The monitoring of the sites that have failed to delete the prohibited information and remain in the Unified […]

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Ukraine’s blacklists in defence of democracy and national security are doing it no favours; Fresh bans on Russian and Ukrainian cultural production are signs that Ukraine could be losing its hard-won freedom.

Map of Ukraine, Including Crimea, and Neighbors, Including Russia

(opendemocracy.net – Kateryna Botanova – February 9, 2018) Kateryna Botanova is a critic and curator. She is founder and chief editor (2010-2015) of korydor, an online journal about contemporary culture, and cultural editor for Ukrainska pravda (2015-2016). She is the co-curator of CULTURESCAPES festival, Switzerland [Text with links opendemocracy.net/od-russia/kateryna-botanova/ukraines-blacklists-in-defence-of-democracy] In recent months, the wave of bans and blacklists in Ukraine’s […]

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NEWSLINK: “STALIN, PADDINGTON, AND THE PRESS” – irrussianality/Paul Robinson

File Photo of Reel of Film

“What do Josef Stalin and Paddington Bear have in common? Answer: The Russian Ministry of Culture has tried to ‘ban’ films about them – or at least that what recent headlines would have you believe. The truth is a bit more complex. …”

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NEWSWATCH: “Barred From Running and Boycotting: Navalny’s Quandary in Russia” – New York Times/ Andrew Higgins

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

“… Navalny, a Russian anticorruption activist, would have no real chance of defeating … Putin in an election. … But on Monday the Kremlin barred him from running for president in March. Then on Tuesday, threatening legal action, it warned him against organizing a boycott of the election. In one surreal turn after another, the Russian authorities have dismissed Mr. […]

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NEWSLINK: “A hybrid hunt for criminal journalists; Meduza reviews how federal censors monitor and punish Russia’s mass media” – Meduza

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

“A lot is illegal when you’re a mass media outlet in Russia. … To enforce all these prohibitions, Moscow has a special state enterprise that reports to Roskomnadzor: the Main Radio Frequency Center ‘GRChTs’ federal state unitary enterprise. The outfit employs hundreds of people to scan the Internet every day, analyzing hundreds of websites with pornography, obscenities, and other illegal […]

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Russia’s Media Monitor Moves To Block Websites Of ‘Undesirable’ Organizations

File Image of Laptop Computer, Tables and Mobile Device, adapted from image at energy.gov

(Article ©2017 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – December 12, 2017 – also appeared at rferl.org/a/russia-blocks-access-website-khodorkovsky-open-russia-prodemocracy-group/28910984.html) Russia’s Roskomnadzor media regulatory agency has begun blocking access to websites of organizations deemed “undesirable” by the Justice Ministry under a 2015 law aimed at restricting the activity of organizations the Kremlin accuses of fomenting political dissent. The regulator’s website on December […]

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Russia’s new media law: expanding the field of uncertainty; Russia’s new legislation is not only aimed at foreign media. It’s another step in the process of blurring legal definitions – until they’re useless.

File Image of Laptop Computer, Tables and Mobile Device, adapted from image at energy.gov

(opendemocracy.net – Sergey Lukashevsky – November 29, 2017) Sergey Lukashevsky is the director of the Sakharov Center, Moscow. The Russian state currently lives for two problems – its relations with the US, and the upcoming presidential elections. Society is worried about something slightly different – the state of the healthcare system, rising taxes and reducing incomes. But it’s the authorities […]

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NEWSLINK: “‘You can always expect retaliatory measures from Moscow’ Deputy Duma Speaker Pyotr Tolstoy explains Russia’s new legislation against ‘foreign agents’ in the news media” – Meduza

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

“On November 15, lawmakers in the lower house of Russia’s parliament unanimously passed all three readings of amendments to federal laws on the mass media. If adopted by the Federation Council and President Putin, the reforms will empower the Justice Ministry to add certain media outlets to Russia’s registry of foreign agents. State Duma deputies say the legislation is being […]

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Roskomnadzor not preparing coercive measures against U.S. media, social networks – head of agency

File Image of Laptop Computer, Tables and Mobile Device, adapted from image at energy.gov

MOSCOW. Nov 1 (Interfax) – The Russian telecommunications watchdog Roskomnadzor is currently not preparing any coercive measures against the U.S. media, including CNN and social networks, Roskomnadzor head Alexander Zharov said. “Speaking about now, we are working within the legal framework and we are not preparing any specific actions on the U.S. media and U.S. social networks,” he told reporters […]

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Russia Prepares to Blacklist Five ‘Undesirable’ U.S. Media Outlets

Satellite Dishes

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – October 18, 2017) Russian senators have drawn up a list of five U.S.-based media outlets, including CNN, whose activities in Russia could be restricted in response to a requirement to have the American branch of Russia’s state-funded RT television channel register as a foreign agent. The U.S. Justice Department has asked that the Kremlin-backed RT […]

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Russians Mull Movie Ban On British Farce ‘Death Of Stalin’

File Photo of Reel of Film

(Article ©2017 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Tom Balmforth – MOSCOW – Sept. 20, 2017 – also appeared at https://www.rferl.org/a/russia-death-stalin-movie-ban-outrage/28747021.html) The Russian Culture Ministry has warned it may ban a British satirical film about Soviet leader Josef Stalin’s death amid an outcry from Communist Party lawmakers who call it the latest example of Western “psychological warfare.” Adapted […]

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Bill on multi-million fines for slander on social networks may pass State Duma in fall – Isayev

Russian State Duma Building file photo

IZHEVSK. July 26 (Interfax) – The State Duma will debate bills introducing increased fines for the dissemination of illegal content and slander on social networking sites in the fall session, Andrei Isayev, first deputy head of the United Russia faction on legislative activities, said. “At the beginning of the fall session, they [the authors of legislative initiatives] will insist on […]

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Why Russian Officials Want to Control the Social Sciences; In authoritarian regimes, the social sciences are the most vulnerable to state interventions

Bookcase file photo, adapted from image at nlm.nih.gov

(Moscow Times/Kennan Institute – themoscowtimes.com –  wilsoncenter.org/program/kennan-institute – Irina Olimpieva – July 11, 2017) Irina Olimpieva is a senior researcher at St. Petersburg Center for Independent Social Research On June 23, the Board of Trustees of the European University in St. Petersburg accepted the resignation of the rector, Oleg Kharkhordin. The EUSP is a private Russian university operating as a […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Hardliners urge Kremlin crackdown on social media; Russia has introduced increasingly draconian web laws but some are pushing for more” – Financial Times/ Max Seddon

File Image of Laptop Computer, Tables and Mobile Device, adapted from image at energy.gov

“… success in using social media to mobilise youthful anti-corruption protesters has sparked calls for the Kremlin to step up internet censorship. … [A]t a censorship conference … Oscar-winning film director Nikita Mikhalkov … showed a documentary that accused … Navalny of luring children to violent protests against … Putin. ‘… [Young people] don’t know any history and they won’t until they get a rubber […]

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NEWSLINK: “The arts thrive in Putin’s Russia – though they play a complex game of censorship; Russia’s art scene prospers in a bizarre critical climate fostered by the Kremlin. We may not know the rules, but we know our place” – The Guardian (UK)/Natalia Antonova

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

“… The Russian state’s paradoxical nature becomes especially apparent when considering the country’s thriving arts scene. It is these contradictions of governance, and their peculiar influence on the Russian art world, that aid and abet Putin’s rule, and ultimately, help generate support for the Russian president. So is there censorship? Yes, some people would argue – but it’s not clearly […]

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NEWSLINK New York Times: “In Meeting, Putin Vows to Protect Artistic Freedom in Russia”

Russian Jail File Photo Showing Outer Wall, Windows, Barbed Wire

“President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, in a meeting with film directors and artists, vowed on Friday to protect artistic freedom in the country but also said a court was right to give one director a 20-year prison term. …”

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Streaming Wars: The Real Fight Behind Russia’s False YouTube ‘Ban’

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 30, 2016) Internet video giant YouTube will not be forced out of Russia under a new bill regulating online streaming services, the Russian government has confirmed. “We can officially say that all talk of YouTube facing legal restrictions is simply not true,” Deputy Communications Minister Alexei Volin told the Rambler News Service on Wednesday. […]

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Ukraine blacklists over 500 films and TV series

File Photo of Reel of Film

KYIV. Nov 30 (Interfax) – The National Council of Television and Radio Broadcasting of Ukraine has published a list of films and television series which have been banned by the Ukrainian State Film Agency from screening in 2014-2016. The list, which includes 544 audiovisual works, was published on the Council’s website on Wednesday. “In 2014-2016 the State Film Agency denied […]

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In Russia’s media, censorship is silent; A new survey of 100 Russian journalists reveals their perceptions of professional challenges, objectivity and freedom.

Satellite Dishes

(opendemocracy.net – Nataliya Rostova – November 23, 2016) Nataliya Rostova is a visiting scholar at the Kennan Institute and author of the GorbyMedia project. The idea of conducting a survey of Russian journalists came to me after seeing something similar in New York magazine, which earlier this year polled 113 people working in the US media on the problems and […]

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NEWSWATCH: “The murder that killed free media in Russia; A decade after the assassination of Anna Politkovskaya, news organisations increasingly avoid topics that could anger the Kremlin” – The Guardian (UK)/Shaun Walker

File Photo of Mourners with Photo of Anna Politkovskaya

 … In the decade since [Anna] Politkovskaya’s death, the space for independent journalism in Russia has narrowed …. Since 2006, the Committee to Protect Journalists has recorded 20 journalists’ killings, while Freedom House has counted 63 violent attacks on reporters. But for the most part, the threat of closure keeps publications in line and encourages self-censorship. … news sources have […]

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NEWSWATCH: Russia Today/RT: “Communications Ministry mulls total control over Russian sector of the web – reports”

File Photo of Little Girl at Computer Next to Globe

Kremlin-backed Russia Today/RT announced that the Rusian government is contemplating a takeover of Russian portions of the internet: The Communications Ministry has prepared a bill that formally defines critical digital infrastructure and allows only Russian companies to own the hardware and databases that control the .ru and .рф domains of the internet, mass media report. Russian business newspaper Vedomosti reported […]

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What Russia’s New Draconian Data Laws Mean for Users

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Matthew Bodner – July 14, 2016) After three years of relative silence, NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden spoke up: “[President Vladimir] Putin has signed a repressive new law that violates not only human rights, but common sense. Dark day for Russia.” For the man who fled to Russia after blowing the lid off the NSA’s unprecedented […]

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Jailed for a repost: The definition of extremism in Russia gets ever looser

Kremlin and River

Russia has seen a dramatic rise in criminal prosecutions on charges of internet extremism over the last few months. Yet most of these cases concern not the creation of extremist content but retweeting, liking or reposting it. RBTH found out more. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – YEKATERINA SINELSCHIKOVA, RBTH – June 7, 2016) On Feb. 20, Yekaterina Vologzhenova, […]

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Russian liberal radio station sees off “censorship” move

Aerial View of Moscow From Beyond Stadium, file photo

(Interfax – May 27, 2016) A dispute about freedom of speech at the Ekho Moskvy radio station in Moscow seems to be resolved to the satisfaction of the journalists and with the editor-in-chief’s authority enhanced. New contract and “censorship” The argument began when talk show presenter Yevgenia Albats refused to sign a new contract that she said amounted to censorship. […]

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RBTH: Medvedev: Global community must work together to regulate internet; The Russian prime minister has urged the international community to act together in addressing global challenges.

File Photo Dmitry Medvedev at Desk with Laptop Computer

(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – ALEXEI LOSSAN, RBTH – May 23, 2016) Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has emphasized the importance of international cooperation on addressing new global challenges, including regulation of the internet, while admitting that the country has been feeling the pressure of Western sanctions. “Our companies and citizens have been subjected to pressure for two […]

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A Euro ‘vision’ of discord: The reaction from Russia and Ukraine

Joseph Stalin file photo

Eurovision, Europe’s most popular song contest, has pitted Russia against Ukraine. The winning song and the results of the jury have prompted considerable commentary in both countries, turning an apolitical show into yet another frontline in an ongoing media war. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – OLEG YEGOROV, YEKATERINA SINELSCHIKOVA, RBTH – May 17, 2016) The Eurovision 2016 winning […]

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Could a union do anything to protect Russian journalists?

Physical attacks and management interference have put Russian journalists’ safety – and their ability to work freely – back on the table. A new union will have to survive in an increasingly hostile environment. (opendemocracy.net – Nataliya Rostova – May 16, 2016) Nataliya Rostova is a visiting scholar at the Kennan Institute, senior correspondent for current affairs portal Slon.ru and […]

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NEWSLINK Russia Direct: “Inside Russian top investigator’s latest manifesto against extremism. It remains to be seen whether the Kremlin will listen to the ideas of one of the country’s top law enforcement officers to impose even greater censorship and control over Russian society as part of enhanced efforts to win the ‘information war’ with the West”

Alexandr Bastrykin file photo » Read more

Hard Work vs. Magic

Kremlin and River

(Kennan Institute – wilsoncenter.org/program/kennan-institute – Maxim Trudolyubov, Senior Fellow, Kennan Institute. Editor-at-Large, Vedomosti Daily – April 19, 2016) Russian officials still refer to “conditions for doing business” or “quality of governance” when discussing the country’s economic performance. But the lack of gravitas in these conversations is palpable. Russia’s official economic policymakers command an excellent understanding of the country’s economic problems, […]

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Battle in the Archives – Uncovering Russia’s Secret Past

Kremlin and Saint Basil's File Photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Peter Hobson – March 24, 2016) The year is 1941, and hundreds of miles from Germany, Nazi armored divisions gather speed along newly-frosted soil. They are almost within striking distance of Moscow, the Soviet capital. Eventually, the charge is halted before the city by a series of bloody, desperate battles. Famously, 28 members of the […]

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Like, Share, Convict: Russian Authorities Target Social Media Users

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Daria Litvinova – March 10, 2016) [Chart here http://www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/like-share-convict-russian-authorities-target-social-media-users/562015.html] It was a throwaway comment, forgotten almost the minute it was written. Then again, Viktor Krasnov could hardly have predicted the trouble those three words -“God doesn’t exist” – would cause. He couldn’t have imagined that two VKontakte users would file a formal complaint to the […]

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NEWSLINK Russia Direct: “How does the Internet fit into Russia’s security strategy? Against the background of continuing confrontation with the West and growing domestic authoritarianism, the Kremlin is continuing on a path of increased state control of the Russian Internet and a significantly expanded view of information security.”

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Censors would starve in modern Russia

Bookcase file photo, adapted from image at nlm.nih.gov

Maya Kucherskaya, a writer, linguist, literary critic and director of the newly opened Creative Writing School, the first such center for budding authors in Russia, talked to RBTH about professional writing, censorship and Russia’s book market. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – YULIA VINOGRADOVA, SPECIAL TO RBTH – February 17, 2016) RBTH: How is the Creative Writing School different […]

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Peskov: No restrictions for [quick data] messengers planned

Dmitry Peskov file photo adapted from image at kremlin.ru/wikimedia commons

(Interfax – December 9, 2015) The Kremlin said that no restrictions for the quick data transmission systems, the so-called messengers, are planned to introduce. “I am aware that the issue is really being worked on, but not in the aspect of restrictions. As far as I am concerned, there are no restrictions there, but the issue is being worked on, […]

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Smooth censorship in Russia

File Photo of Kremlin Tower, St. Basil's, Red Square at Night

Everybody understands everything, everybody knows everything, and no one says anything aloud. (Opendemocracy.net – Gregory Tumanov – October 27, 2015) Grigory Tumanov is a Moscow based journalist and blogger. He is a staff correspondent for Kommersant daily, one of Russia’s most respected publications. Follow him on Twitter @scumsquad The history of censorship in Russian media runs for pages and pages. […]

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Russian Academia Divided Over FSB Vetting of Research Papers

FSB Building file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Daria Litvinova – October 22, 2015) A report this week of research papers and scientific articles becoming subject to vetting by the Federal Security Service (FSB) before publication rattled Russian academics, coming on the heels of several cases in which people have been accused of espionage and treason in connection with their professional activities. The […]

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By Blocking Wikipedia, Russian Government Shows its Power Over Web

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ivan Nechepurenko – August 26, 2015) After blocking a Wikipedia article for less than than 18 hours, the Russian media watchdog Roskomnadzor removed it from a list of banned webpages on Tuesday in a move that reflects the power the Russian state wields over the Internet, pundits told The Moscow Times. At the end of […]

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RBTH: Why Russians support Internet censorship

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

According to a joint report by American researchers and Russian sociologists, 49 percent of Russians are not opposed to Internet censorship. They do not perceive attempts to control the Internet as an infringement on the freedom of speech, experts explain. (Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Yekaterina Sinelschikova, RBTH – August 22, 2015) Nearly half of Russians (49 percent) […]

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re Antony Beevor’s book re WWII

Map of Russia and Russian Flag adapted from images at state.gov

Subject: re Antony Beevor’s book re WWII Date: Fri, 7 Aug 2015 15:51:31 +0100 From: Antony Penaud <antonypenaud@yahoo.fr> Antony Penaud completed his D.Phil. (University of Oxford) in 2000. He is French and lives in London. His essays on Russia and Ukraine can be found on www.scribd.com/antonykharms — The headline of Beevor’s article in The Guardian (1) is “By banning my […]

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