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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British Media Regulator Probing RT’s Impartiality After Salisbury Poisoning

Artist Rendition of Barrel with Poison Symbol on It, Oozing Green Material

(Article ©2018 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – April 18, 2018 – also appeared at rferl.org/a/british-media-regulator-probing-rt-s-impartiality-after-salisbury-poisoning/29174828.html) Britain’s media watchdog has started probing whether Russian news channel RT broke impartiality rules in its programs after a former Russian double agent and his daughter were poisoned in the English city of Salisbury last month. Media regulator Ofcom warned on […]

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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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RUSSIALINK: Interfax: “Int’l rules of conduct needed to prevent situations like blocking of Russian media outlets’ Facebook accounts – Nikiforov”

File Photo of UN Building with Flags

MOSCOW. April 5 (Interfax) – Russia will insist that the United Nations adopt an international convention to lay down rules of conduct on the Internet and deal with the illegal blocking of online resources, Russian Communications and Mass Media Minister Nikolai Nikiforov said on Thursday. “Our foreign colleagues, above all American, continue to exhibit their customary practice of double standards. […]

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NEWSWATCH: “When does Russian propaganda work – and when does it backfire? Here’s what we found.” – Washington Post/Leonid Peisakhin, Arturas Rozenas

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

“Assuming that Russia knows how its propaganda affects its audience, we might be able to figure out what it was trying to do in the U.S. election. If Russia targeted voters predisposed toward Trump, trying to motivate them to vote, that would suggest its goal was to help him get elected. But if Russia spread its biased messages broadly, that […]

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From Tatiana Stanovaya: “Exclusive analysis about Russia; New project dedicated to Russian politics”

View of Kremlin from River, adapted from image at rpolitik.com

Subject: Exclusive analysis about Russia Date: Tue, 3 Apr 2018 From: Tatiana Stanovaya <analysis@rpolitik.com> New project dedicated to Russian politics Dear colleagues, I would like to present you a new issue of analytical Bulletin #2(3)2018 «RUSSIAN POLITICS. Unvarnished and Undiluted». https://rpolitik.com/category/bulletins/ Main headlines: The Kemerovo fire. What impact it will have on the FSB’s growing role? Ziawudin Magomedov and the […]

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Defending Digital Democracy

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

Subject: Democracy’s Front-Line Defenders Date: Thu, 29 Mar 2018 From: Eric Rosenbach <erosenbach@belfercenter.hks.harvard.edu> Defending Digital Democracy America’s enemies aren’t resting. Neither are we. I hope you’ll be in touch with me with thoughts about how we can strengthen our efforts to defend democracy. Warm regards, Eric Rosenbach Co-Director, Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard University Director, Defending Digital […]

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House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence: Russia Investigation

American Flag and Partial View of U.S. Capitol Dome, adapted from image at aoc.gov

House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence March 12, 2018 Russia Investigation [PDF: intelligence.house.gov/uploadedfiles/ hpsci_russia_investigation_one_page_summary.pdf ] Overview Following a more than yearlong, bipartisan investigation into Russia active measures targeting the 2016 U.S. election, the House Intelligence Committee has completed a draft report of 150+ pages, with 600+ citations. The draft report addresses, in detail, each of the questions within the agreed […]

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Films about Putin posted on social media not violations – Pamfilova

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

MOSCOW. March 12 (Interfax) – The posting of Andrei Kondrashov’s film “Putin” and similar videos on social media is not a violation, because election laws do not regulate the Internet, Central Elections Commission (CEC) Chair Ella Pamfilova said in response to a question from Interfax. “This is not a violation, because we don’t regulate the the Internet,” Pamfilova said. “If […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Life in Vladimir Putin’s Russia explained in 10 charts” – BBC/ Alex Murray, Tom Housden, Anastasia Napalkova, Sandra Rodriguez Chillida, Joy Roxas, Zoe Bartholomew

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

“1. Fewer people are poor … 2. But wage growth has stalled recently … 3. More people have a car, and there are more microwaves than households … 4. Russians fell in love with Ikea … 5. And champagne … There’s some dispute over how much Russians drink. … 6. … the internet took off … 7. But circuses are […]

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What does the flight of a controversial news editor tell us about press freedom in Ukraine? After the editor-in-chief of a controversial (and anonymously funded) website flees for Vienna, there are questions to answer – both for Ukraine’s authorities and the editor.

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

(opendemocracy.net – Brian Milakovsky – March 8, 2018) Brian Milakovsky lives in eastern Ukraine where he works on post-conflict economic recovery. He has worked on ecological and humanitarian issues in Ukraine and Russia since 2009. Kyiv is abuzz with the news that the editor-in-chief of several popular and controversial media outlets has fled Ukraine and asked for political asylum in […]

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NEWSLINK: “We’re All Russian Bots Now; Americans don’t need help from Moscow to tear each other apart on social media” – Politico/Howard Axelrod

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

“… To call us all unwitting pawns isn’t fair, of course, as there’s no grand conspiracy at work here. Just an ongoing degradation of public discourse, which poses an ongoing and deepening threat to democracy. …”

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NEWSLINK: “State Dept. Was Granted $120 Million to Fight Russian Meddling. It Has Spent $0” – New York Times/GARDINER HARRIS

State Department Building and U.S. Flag

“… not one of the 23 analysts working in the department’s Global Engagement Center — which has been tasked with countering Moscow’s disinformation campaign — speaks Russian, and a department hiring freeze has hindered efforts to recruit the computer experts needed to track the Russian efforts. …”

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NEWSWATCH: “Why the Kremlin publishes uncensored translations of Western news; The state-sponsored InoSMI gets hundreds of thousands of Russian readers each day, who generally seem to view Western coverage of Russia as selective and simplistic. But the site also highlights how important cultural context is to understanding the news” – Christian Science Monitor/Fred Weir

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

“One of Russia’s most popular internet news sites is one that many Russians believe to be a dedicated purveyor of ‘fake news.’ Yet it enjoys almost 300,000 daily readers, is consulted by editors around the country as they prepare their own news coverage, and is also reported to be heavily used by the Kremlin staff who compile … Putin’s morning […]

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NEWSLINK: “Ukrainian Association of the Kennan Institute Alumni: ‘We are deeply concerned by the Kennan Institute’s growing pro-Kremlin policies'” – Kyiv Post/Ukrainian Association of the Kennan Institute Alumni

File of Reagan Building, adapted from image at archives.gov

“The following is an open letter of the Ukrainian Association of the Kennan Institute Alumni published on Feb. 27.”

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NEWSLINK: “On Russia, we need more reason and less frenzy” – Washington Post/Katrina vanden Heuvel

Stylized Artist's Depiction of Shadowy Figures in Dark Coats and Dark Hats, One Carrying a Briefcase

“… Finding a way back from the brink won’t be easy, but less hysteria and more reason would be a useful first step. … Those who care about our democracy should be particularly wary of stoking a new Cold War. Worsening relations only feed the worst forces on both sides – militaries expand, the space for dissent closes, nationalist fervor […]

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Russian interference in the virtual world is not the problem; If there were no Russian “influence operations” in the virtual world, no disinformation campaign spearheaded by Russian bots and trolls, would the western world look much different today?

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

(opendemocracy.net – Tom Junes – February 22, 2018) [Text with links opendemocracy.net/od-russia/tom-junes/russian-interference-in-virtual-world-is-not-problem] Tom Junes is a historian and post-doctoral researcher focusing on protest movements in eastern Europe. He is a member of the Human and Social Studies Foundation Sofia and currently a visiting fellow at European University Institute in Florence, Italy. He is the author of Student Politics in Communist […]

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NEWSWATCH: “State Department launches $40 million initiative to counter Russia election meddling” – USA Today/Oren Dorell

State Department Building and U.S. Flag

“The State Department … unveiled a new program to counter Russian meddling in the 2018 U.S. midterm elections. The $40 million initiative will battle state-sponsored disinformation and propaganda targeting the U.S. and its interests …. run from the State Department’s Global Engagement Center (GEC) … starting with a new $1 million Information Access Fund, that on Monday issued a request […]

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NEWSWATCH: “The Russia Probe Has Turned The News Into ‘Ancient Aliens’; The news media’s rush to judgement on the Russia probe has left them looking like ancient astronaut theorists: entertaining but wrong.” – The Federalist/David Marcus

Satellite Dishes

“… Trump is absolutely aware of how eager the news media is to bring him down. … he has made … ‘Fake News’ his number-one nemesis. …. When indictments against Russian nationals came down last week for interfering with the election, it came with the caveat that no Americans had any knowledge of it. Even so, many in the news […]

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NEWSLINK: “A So-Called Expert’s Uneasy Dive Into the Trump-Russia Frenzy; Is it possible to express skepticism about the impact of Kremlin interference in the 2016 election without the Internet turning you into a pro-Trump propagandist?” – The New Yorker/Adrian Chen

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

“… The thing is, I don’t really want to be an expert on the Internet Research Agency and Russian online propaganda. I agree with my colleague Masha Gessen that the whole issue has been blown out of proportion. …”

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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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NEWSLINK: “Teaching Activities for: ‘Russia Sees Midterm Elections as Chance to Sow Fresh Discord, Intelligence Chiefs Warn'” – New York Times/The Learning Network/Caroline Crosson Gilpin

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

“… Russia is using fake accounts on social media — many of them bots — to spread disinformation, the officials said. European elections are being targeted, too, and the attacks were not likely to end this year, they warned. …”

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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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Sobchak’s lawyers, Yabloko party chair complain to CEC about Putin film aired by Channel One

File Photo of Screenshot of Vladimir Putin in Twitter Video of Trailer of Oliver Stone TV Film Regarding Russia

MOSCOW. Feb 13 (Interfax) – The legal team of presidential candidate Ksenia Sobchak and Yabloko party chair Elimia Slabunova have complained to the Russian Central Elections Commission (CEC) about Oliver Stone’s film about Vladimir Putin being aired by Channel One. “The State Secretary of the Russian Federal Bar and lawyer of Ksenia Sobchak, Konstantin Dobrynin, has filed a complaint with […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russian Hackers Hunt Hi-Tech Secrets, Exploiting US Weakness” [excerpt] – AP

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

“Russian cyberspies pursuing the secrets of military drones and other sensitive U.S. defense technology tricked key contract workers into exposing their email to theft …. What ultimately may have been stolen is uncertain, but the hackers clearly exploited a national vulnerability in cybersecurity: poorly protected email and barely any direct notification to victims. The hackers known as Fancy Bear, who […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s media scene: not just a state affair; Despite Western preconceptions of a Soviet-like puppet media, the Russian news landscape is quite diverse, with outlets public and private, big and small. But government influence remains a critical concern” – Christian Science Monitor/Fred Weir

Collage of Russian Newspapers

“… Today’s Russian media is a mixture of old Soviet products – which have evolved but often retain dependency on the support of the state or Kremlin-friendly oligarchs – and a few independent ones that answer to business or politically minded owners. … most information about national and foreign affairs comes from the three big Moscow-based TV networks and national-scale […]

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NEWSLINK: “How Twitter Bots and Trump Fans Made #ReleaseTheMemo Go Viral” – Politico/MOLLY K. MCKEW

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

“Russian bots and their American allies gamed social media to put a flawed intelligence document atop the political agenda. That should alarm us.”  

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NEWSWATCH: “The Bell: meet the Russian media start-up fighting for the precarious future of independent media”

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

“After she was fired as editor-in-chief of Russia’s highly respected media outlet RBC for critical reporting, Elizaveta Osetinskaya left her country and headed to the US. Now she’s founded The Bell, a six-person media start-up fighting for space in Russia’s troubled world of independent media. * * * The Bell launched a weekly English-language website and newsletter in December, which is […]

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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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Interfax: Zyuganov files complaints over biased coverage of Communist candidate’s campaign

Satellite Dishes

MOSCOW. Jan 15 (Interfax) – Russian Communist Party leader Gennady Zyuganov urged President Vladimir Putin on Monday to take measures to stop the use of TV programs to spread “counter-propaganda” against the Communist Party’s presidential candidate, Pavel Grudinin. In his letter to Putin, which was shared with Interfax, Zyuganov pointed out that Grudinin has publicized “a substantive, detailed, and constructive […]

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RUSSIALINK TRANSCRIPT: “[Putin at] Meeting with heads of Russian print media and news agencies” – KremlinRu

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

(Kremlin.ru – January 11, 2018) Ahead of Russian Press Day marked on January 13, Vladimir Putin met with heads of Russian print media and news agencies in the editorial office of the Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper. The discussion focused on current professional issues. The President congratulated media representatives on their professional holiday. In December 2017, during Vladimir Putin’s annual news conference, […]

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U.S. Orders Sputnik News Agency to Register as ‘Foreign Agent’

Department of Justice Headquarters Building file photo, adapted from image at justice.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – January 10, 2018) The United States has ordered the Russian government-funded Sputnik news agency to register as a “foreign agent” – the latest episode in a media war that has unfolded between the two countries in the past year. U.S. intelligence agencies have accused Russian media organizations of participating in a propaganda campaign to influence […]

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NEWSLINK: “RT’s editor-in-chief on election meddling, being labeled Russian propaganda; ‘There’s nothing illegal that we did … nothing murky,’ says Margarita Simonyan, who dismisses the U.S. intelligence report that says the Russian news network she heads meddled in the 2016 U.S. presidential election” – CBS News

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Russians Today Lack the ‘Ironic’ – and Critical — Attitude toward the State of Their Soviet Ancestors, Zhelenin Says

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, January 2, 2018) Present-day Russian society is ever more like the old Soviet one, many people say, Aleksandr Zhelenin observes; but this is true “only in part” because the way in which today’s Kremlin manages its information monopoly leads many Russians to conclude that they are still living in freedom and thus […]

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Re: Freedom of speech in rusology

U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia file photo, adapted from image at dc.uscourts.gov

Subject: Freedom of speech in rusology Date: Sat, 16 Dec 2017 From: GORDON HAHN <gordon-hahn@sbcglobal.net> The following seems to be a rather ominous development for freedom of speech in academia and journalism an attempt to discredit all dissenters from the Washington consensus on Russia. If there are people in academia willing to sign on to such a ‘brief,’ we can […]

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A Question Of War: Ukrainian Journalist Gears Up (Again) For Putin’s Big Presser

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

(Article ©2017 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Tom Balmforth – MOSCOW, December 13, 2017 – also appeared at rferl.org/a/putin-annual-press-conference-ukrainian-journalist-war-questions/28914154.html) In a sea of more than a thousand journalists jostling for attention, Roman Tsymbalyuk will be holding a black-and-white “Ukraine” placard. His aim is to catch Vladimir Putin’s eye during the Russian president’s marathon annual press conference on […]

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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 Channel One Will Broadcast Olympics, Despite Team’s Ban

Olympic Rings Lit at Night, adapted from image at state.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – December 12, 2017) Russia’s state-run Channel One television channel has announced that it will broadcast the 2018 Winter Game’s despite the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) decision last week to bar Russia’s team from competing. The IOC decision said that individual Russian athletes could participate in the Olympics in February if they proved to a panel […]

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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: “Eric Schmidt Says Google News Will ‘Engineer’ Russian Propaganda Out of the Feed; ‘It’s basically RT and Sputnik,’ he said on Saturday.” – Motherboard/Justin Ling

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

“Eric Schmidt, Executive Chariman of Alphabet, says the company is working to ferret out Russian propaganda from Google News after facing criticism that Kremlin-owned media sites had been given plum placement on the search giant’s news and advertising platforms. …”

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Putin’s press conference due to take place on Dec. 14 – Kremlin

Kremlin and River

MOSCOW. Nov 21 (Interfax) – Russian President Vladimir Putin’s press conference is due to take place on December 14, with press accreditation already announced, the Kremlin said in a statement on Tuesday. Russian journalists registered with Roskomnadzor and foreign journalists accredited with the Russian Foreign Ministry can submit their applications. Accreditation ends at 5 p.m. on December 1, 2017. Journalists […]

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