NEWSLINK: “A Russian Take on ‘The Americans’ Scares Moscow Liberals; The political conversation in Putin’s Russia increasingly revolves around cinematic versions of reality.” – Bloomberg/ Leonid Bershidsky

Vladirmir Putin and Donald Trump Sitting in Chairs with Flags Behind, adapted from image at whitehouse.gov » Read more

NEWSLINKS DIGEST: More American tales of Russiagate

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  These Americans Were Tricked Into Working For Russia. They Say They Had No Idea. Buzzfeed.com October 17, 2017   Facebook admits Russia agents used Messenger to disrupt U.S. presidential election Recode.net October 18, 2017 In attempt to sow fear, Russian trolls paid for self-defense classes for African Americans CNN.com October 18, 2017 Trump Campaign Staffers Pushed Russian Propaganda Days […]

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NEWSLINK: “If Russia can create fake ‘Black Lives Matter’ accounts, who will next?” – Washington Post/ Anne Applebaum

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Navalny Fund Publishes Retractions in Usmanov Libel Suit

Alisher Usmanov file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – October 11, 2017) The Anti-Corruption Foundation has complied with a court order to publish retractions related to a video critical of Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. Foundation founder and opposition leader Alexei Navalny was sued for libel in April by Uzbekistan-born Russian oligarch Alisher Usmanov over allegations of bribery. Navalny is currently serving a 20-day jail […]

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NEWSWATCH: “A Bernie Sanders campaign veteran advises a surging opposition movement in Russia” – Washington Post/ Andrew Roth

Arm and Torso of Person in Brown Sweater Placing Paper Ballot into Ballot Box

“Vitali Shkliarov, a 41-year-old political operative born in Belarus, speaks the gospel of Bernie Sanders in the style of a Silicon Valley executive. Technology, he says, is a key to access …. The idea got a test drive in Moscow’s recent municipal elections … the veteran of the Sanders and … Obama campaigns sees it as part of a worldwide movement. * […]

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Washington Post coverage of Russiagate

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

October 8, 2017 The notorious Kremlin-linked ‘troll farm’ and the Russians trying to take it down https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/the-notorious-kremlin-linked-troll-farm-and-the-russians-trying-to-take-it-down/2017/10/06/c8c4b160-a919-11e7-9a98-07140d2eed02_story.html?utm_term=.d27065c3abb0 October 9, 2017 Google uncovers Russian-bought ads on YouTube, Gmail and other platforms https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2017/10/09/google-uncovers-russian-bought-ads-on-youtube-gmail-and-other-platforms/?utm_term=.1314cf8ad2f0 October 9, 2017 Russian operatives used Twitter and Facebook to target veterans and military personnel, study says https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2017/10/09/russian-operatives-used-twitter-and-facebook-to-target-veterans-and-military-personnel-study-says/?utm_term=.313a59a7b68d  

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New York Times Covers Russia [Headlines & Links]

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

October 3, 2017 ‘Look Up! Sputnik!’ 60 Years Later By MICHAEL KHODARKOVSKY https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/03/opinion/sputnik-cold-war-space-race.html [“America’s response in 1957 was a huge investment in space technologies; within 12 years, it had put the first men on the moon. Today, too, a major investment in cybersecurity by a much wealthier and more innovative West might remind Moscow that it cannot afford or win […]

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NEWSLINK: “Facebook can’t protect elections on its own” – Washington Post editorial

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“… Existing federal regulations place stricter requirements on political ads on radio and television than those on the Internet. There’s a reason for that: The use of online advertising in political campaigns has spiked in prominence in only the past few years, before most rules governing election spending were written. As a result, Facebook had no legal responsibility to let […]

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NEWSLINK: “From free info exchange to Kremlin tool; Russia’s homegrown Web; The Soviet Union had a working Internet surprisingly early, and its isolation and highly educated users have kept it separate even in a well-connected world.” – Le Monde Diplomatique/ Kevin Limonier

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“The Ukrainian government blocked access to a number of Russian online services this May, including search engine Yandex and Facebook equivalent VKontakte. Kiev accuses these services, widely used in Ukraine, of sharing data with Russian intelligence, especially the personal data of soldiers fighting separatists in the Donbass region. This measure stopped millions from accessing their favourite sites, and showed the […]

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NEWSLINK: “Exclusive: Russians Impersonated Real American Muslims to Stir Chaos on Facebook and Instagram” – TheDailyBeast

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

“Kremlin trolls stole the identity of an authentic U.S. Muslim organization-first to smear John McCain and Hillary Clinton, then to sing her praises. …”  

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NEWSWATCH: “Yandex, a Russian Success Story and Putin’s High-Tech Tiger” – Moscow Times/ Elizaveta Osetinskaya

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“Last week, Yandex, the giant search engine and a symbol of Russian tech prowess, celebrated its 20-year anniversary. Its founder Arkady Volozh played host to … Putin, who praised Yandex at its stylish glass headquarters in downtown Moscow. … Bloggers sarcastically pointed out that the Russian leader famously doesn’t use the internet and once described it as the brainchild of the […]

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NEWSWATCH: “The Kremlin creeps into Germany; The far-right AfD was buoyed by social-media campaigns of the kind Russia has used elsewhere” – Washington Post Editorial

Map of Germany

“The German party Alternative for Germany, or AfD, is anti-immigration, anti-Europe-bailout and very anti-Angela Merkel, the chancellor who was just reelected to a fourth term. Founded only four years ago in protest of European bailouts for Greece and riding the backlash to refugees flooding Germany, the AfD reaped 12.6 percent of the vote … and won a place for the first time […]

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Big Data Convert Channels Big Brother to Take Russia’s Pulse

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(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Anna Andrianova – August 22, 2017) Raw numbers no longer cut it for Russia’s central bank in its effort to keep up with the economy. Instead, the man running its research and forecasting wants to know how Russians really feel by mining “big data,” gathered from social media and online stores. The Bank of Russia has […]

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New U.S. Website Aims To Track Russian ‘Disinformation’ On Twitter

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 – Aug. 3, 2017 – also appeared at rferl.org/a/us-pro-democracy-group-german-marshall-fund-launches-website-tracking-russian-disinformation-twitter/28656024.html) WASHINGTON — A pro-democracy group has launched a new website to monitor and highlight what it says is Russian-backed disinformation on Twitter. The site, called Hamilton 68, which was launched on August 2, is a project of the Alliance for Securing Democracy, […]

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

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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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Russia Leading ‘Assault’ on Freedom of Expression – HRW

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(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – July 18, 2017) Russian authorities have clamped down on Internet freedoms and introduced “invasive” surveillance” online, under the pretext of fighting extremism, Human Rights Watch (HRW) said in a report published today. The report criticizes Russia for unjustly imprisoning dozens based on their activity online and for introducing new laws that give the government tools […]

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Tributes to Anton Nossik, Pioneer of Russia’s Internet, Cut Across Divides; The Internet’s ‘Pushkin’ died on July 9, just days after turning 51

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Lena Smirnova, Michele Berdy – July 10, 2017) When Anton Nossik, the “godfather” of the Russian Internet, died from a heart attack in the early hours of July 9, heartfelt condolences poured in across generations and political divides. The poet Lev Rubinshtein remembered him from childhood as a “wunderkind.” Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev described Nossik […]

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Why Putin Isn’t Laughing at Russia’s Foul-Mouthed YouTube Craze

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(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Jake Rudnitsky, Ilya Arkhipov, Henry Meyer – June 19, 2017) Nikolai Sobolev’s acute sense of what’s on the minds of his young audience has made his expletive-laced video blog one of Russia’s hottest. But after a steady diet of topics like teen angst, the 23-year-old found an unexpected new issue was taking off this spring: opposition […]

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VIDEOS & ARTICLE: Russian Cyber Hacks on U.S. Electoral System Far Wider Than Previously Known

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(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Michael Riley, Jordan Robertson – June 13, 2017) [See video “How to See If Russia Meddled With Your Vote”: bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2017-06-13/russian-breach-of-39-states-threatens-future-u-s-elections] Russia’s cyberattack on the U.S. electoral system before Donald Trump’s election was far more widespread than has been publicly revealed, including incursions into voter databases and software systems in almost twice as many states as previously […]

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Talking Heads: How Russia’s Videobloggers are Shaping Public Opinion; As Russians turn from their televisions in favour of YouTube, the Kremlin is struggling to find a primetime slot.

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Ola Cichowlas – June 2, 2017) When Sasha Spilberg addressed the Duma on May 22, few Russians under the age of 25 even knew who she was. “My name is Sasha Spilberg and I have over 10 million followers on social media,” the 19-year-old told the Russian parliament as part of a debate on youth […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Kremlin Critic Alexei Navalny Vows to Fight On; As legal obstacles to opposition figure’s presidential run multiply, he says in interview ‘Kremlin will have no choice’ than to let his campaign proceed” – Wall Street Journal/ Nathan Hodge

Alexei Navalny file photo

“… Navalny has mobilized thousands of demonstrators across [Russia] to protest corruption under … Putin. Now he says he is pressing ahead with a quixotic effort to run against his country’s powerful leader in elections next year. … despite … serious legal obstacles …. he was found guilty of embezzlement by a court in Kirov … a verdict he said was politically motivated to […]

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NEWSLINK: “‘Do you know what memes are?’ Billionaire Alisher Usmanov’s lawsuit against opposition leader Alexey Navalny goes to trial” – Meduza

Alisher Usmanov file photo

“On Tuesday, May 30, a Moscow court convened to consider the merits of a defamation lawsuit brought by billionaire businessman Alisher Usmanov against opposition politician Alexey Navalny and his Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK). Usmanov is demanding that Navalny retract multiple accusations he made in a recent investigation into corruption allegedly involving Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, as well as allegations Navalny has […]

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NEWSLINK: “Russian Social Media Seen as Threat to Ukraine and to Cybersecurity. Kiev has shut down Russian Facebook-like platforms VKontakte and Odnoklassniki” – Wall Street Journal

Maidan Square in Kiev, Ukraine

“Ukraine has taken a drastic step in a continuing cyberwar with Russia, its powerful, nuclear-armed neighbor: shutting down Russia’s homegrown versions of Facebook. The Ukrainian government earlier this month blocked Vkontakte and Odnoklassniki, Russian-language social media platforms that are hugely popular across the former Soviet Union, saying they were serving as vehicles for pro-Russian propaganda. …”

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Andrei Liakhov: “Re: 2017-#98-Johnson’s Russia List/ My answer to the ‘prominent Washington expert'”

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Subject: Re: 2017-#98-Johnson’s Russia List Date: Wed, 24 May 2017 20:01:47 +0300 From: Andrei Liakhov <gaffriloff@yahoo.co.uk> My answer to the “prominent Washington expert”: Dear expert, you have not read the report correctly. [“Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections”] The January report never stated unequivocally that Russia’s interference is an established fact. At most, to me, as to […]

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Response by prominent Washington expert on Russia to JRL 2017-#95, 18 May 2017 [Re: U.S. #Intelligence, #Russia, #Hacking, U.S. Election]:

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Response by prominent Washington expert on Russia to JRL 2017-#95, 18 May 2017: “I was surprised to read Prof. Robinson’s analysis on your Russia List. His analysis misses one rather central point, without mention of which everything else that he says instantly loses credibility. It is not leaks — what would the in-party do without leaks to blame? —  that […]

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Despite His Suspicions about the Internet, Putin may Soon Begin to Tweet, Gontmakher Says

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, May 23, 2017) Vladimir Putin is deeply suspicious of the Internet, viewing it as a source of “disinformation and manipulation,” Ekho Moskvy editor Aleksey Venediktov says ((echo.msk.ru/blog/pressa_echo/1985746-echo/). But he is also a very clever politician who recognizes that there are some things he must adapt himself to, Yevgeny Gontmakher observes. The Internet […]

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Putin Is Taking Lessons From Trump on How to Win at the Polls

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(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Stepan Kravchenko, Evgenia Pismennaya, Ilya Arkhipov – May 10, 2017) [Text with charts bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2017-05-10/now-it-s-trump-s-turn-to-show-putin-how-to-win-bigly-at-polls] The Kremlin thinks it knows the secret to Donald Trump’s election victory — and it’s not the kind of hacking you might think. The man Putin hired to deliver the crushing re-election win he’s seeking next March, Sergei Kiriyenko, wants to emulate […]

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NEWSWATCH: Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump: “The Russia-Trump collusion story is a total hoax, when will this taxpayer funded charade end?”

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

Twitter May 9, 2017 Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump “The Russia-Trump collusion story is a total hoax, when will this taxpayer funded charade end?” [live feed of tweet also should embed below; tweet also viewable at: https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/861713823505494016] The Russia-Trump collusion story is a total hoax, when will this taxpayer funded charade end? — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 8, 2017

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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

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“… 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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Behind the Russian mirror; For Russia’s media, social inequality has never been a hot topic. Meet the people behind a new media organisation trying put injustice on Russia’s political agenda.

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

(opendemocracy.net – Maxim Edwards – April 15, 2017) Maxim Edwards is Commissioning Editor at oDR. He writes on nationalism, migration, minorities and memory, with a focus on post-Soviet countries. His articles have appeared in Al-Jazeera, Al Monitor, Souciant and the Forward among other publications. Read the latest in our ongoing Unlikely Media series. As part of this series, oDR profiles […]

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NEWSWATCH: “A shortage of women in technology? Not in Russia” – Washington Post/ Gene Marks

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If you’re part of the #technology industry in the United States, then you’ll no doubt agree it’s a man’s world. TechCrunch reported … on the ‘pipeline problem’ … 18 percent of undergraduate computer science degrees and 26 percent of computing jobs are … held by #women. … [and] five percent of leadership positions in the technology industry …. the share of women in […]

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NEWSWATCH: Transcript of AP interview with Trump (excerpt re: CrowdStrike)

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

[In an interview with AP, dated April 24, 2017, with an indication that it apparently took place Friday, April 21, 2017, President Donald Trump commented on Democratic National Committee cybersecurity problems and computer contractor CrowdStrike.] TRUMP: They [Democratic National Committee] shouldn’t have allowed it to get out. If they had the proper defensive devices on their internet, you know, equipment, they wouldn’t […]

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YouTube Removes Video Comparing Kremlin Opponent Navalny To Hitler

Youtube(TM) Logo, adapted from image at oakridge.doe.gov

(RFE/RL– rferl.org – April 22, 2017) YouTube has removed a video likening Russian opposition leader Aleksei Navalny to Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler, citing a copyright claim. The slickly produced video, titled Hitler 1945/Navalny 2018, had garnered more than 2 million views after it was posted anonymously on the popular website on April 19. But it was unavailable at its original […]

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Does Putin have a Trump Problem with the Media? Russians Say It is Failing to Report or Understand His Words

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Podium Gesturing

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, February 9, 2017) Since emerging on the public scene, Donald Trump has lashed out at what he calls “the lying media” for failing to report what he says and choosing instead to distort his message, a pattern that he says explains his preference for trying to reach the American people directly via […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Foes of Russia Say Child Pornography Is Planted to Ruin Them” – New York Times/Andrew Higgins

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“… steeled by a dozen years in the Soviet gulag, decades of sparring with the KGB. and a bout of near fatal heart disease … Bukovsky, a tireless opponent of Soviet leaders and … Putin of Russia, is not a man easily put off his stride. But he got knocked sideways when British police officers … informed him that they […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Soviet dissident had thousands of child abuse images, UK court told; Vladimir Bukovsky downloaded indecent images and films over 15-year period, Cambridge crown court hears” – The Guardian (UK)/Luke Harding

File Photo of British Parliament Building, Big Ben, Thames, adapted from image at loc.gov

“… Bukovsky, 73, is charged with 10 counts of making and possessing indecent photos and one count of possessing an indecent computer-generated graphic. He denies all charges. * * * Bukovsky has been a longstanding opponent of Soviet and Russian power. He began his struggle against the Soviet regime in the early 1960s. Soviet authorities eventually kicked him out of […]

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Presidential Adviser Says Russia Could Be Cut Off From Internet

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – December 29, 2016) Presidential Internet Adviser German Klimenko said that Russia could be entirely cut off from the global internet in an interview with RT Russian Service. When asked about a new draft law from the Ministry of Communications regulating the Russian internet, Klimenko explained that it is designed as a protective measure. “In the […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia Updates Plan to Counter Cyberattacks and Foreign Influence” – New York Times

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The Kremlin published a new plan … against what it described as stepped-up cyberattacks and ‘information-psychological’ methods by foreign intelligence agencies …. updat[ing] a similar information security doctrine put in place by … Putin in 2000. … American officials have mulled retaliating against Russia for … hacking before the presidential election …. The 16-page document sketches out … threats … […]

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Russia Weaponized Social Media in U.S. Election, FireEye Says

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

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Chris Strohm – December 1, 2016) Russia’s government didn’t just hack and leak documents from U.S. political groups during the presidential campaign: It used social media as a weapon to influence perceptions about the election, according to cybersecurity company FireEye Inc. Material stolen by Russia’s intelligence services was feverishly promoted by online personas and numerous fake […]

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

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(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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NEWSWATCH: “Warning Russia on Hacking Isn’t Enough” – New York Times Editorial

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… A stronger White House response would begin with … Obama revealing more information about how the hacking was done and by whom. He could also … disclose Russian computer codes, embarrass wealthy Kremlin officials by exposing their overseas bank accounts and even disable Russian networks. … impose sanctions on Russians … responsible for the hacking or on military leaders […]

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Russian Supreme Court Wants Fewer Extremism Prosecutions

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Anastasia Kornya – November 10, 2016) The Russian authorities have stepped up their fight against extremism, convicting approximately three times as many people on such charges in recent years. The greatest increase concerns convictions on Article 282 of the Criminal Code – “incitement of hatred or enmity” – with that number rising from 149 in […]

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Leonid Bershidsky: Clinton Should Stop Whining About Russian Hackers

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Leonid Bershidsky – October 25, 2016) Leonid Bershidsky is a Bloomberg View columnist. He was the founding editor of the Russian business daily Vedomosti and founded the opinion website Slon.ru. Hillary Clinton and her team hold that “the Russians” were responsible for almost any disruptive or embarrassing hack in the U.S. Many articles about the recent […]

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