Fake About Fakes: Russian Election Commission Airs Apparently Falsified Video Sullying Its Critics

Russian State Duma Building file photo

In a separate development, tens of thousands of pro-government bloggers participated in a coordinated campaign to spread positive reports about the course of the parliamentary elections […]

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Russia’s E-Voting Getting Off The Ground, Literally

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Critics have warned that the system’s lack of transparency and voter-verification safeguards could open the way for vote manipulation […]

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Moscow City’s Pothole Management Portal Benefits Residents and Regime, Sharafutdinova Says

Moscow Roads

(Paul Goble – Window On Eurasia – Staunton, June 25, 2021) Russia’s autocratic government is modern not just because it has reversed the democratization wave of three decades ago but because it is willing to make use of modern techniques in some spheres of life under its control for its direct benefit, according to Gulnaz Sharaftudinova. The Kremlin uses various […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Google Files First Lawsuit Against Russia’s Internet Censor” – Moscow Times

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

… The company filed a lawsuit April 23 against Roskomnadzor in the Moscow Arbitration Court […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “In Russia, Alexei Navalny’s Allies Fight to Stay Afloat” – Wall Street Journal/ Ann M. Simmons

File Photo of Alexei Navalny Marching on Street with Others in Background; adapted from image at commons.wikimedia.org with credit to Evgeny Feldman, subject to Creative Commons license; original image at commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:FEV_1795_(cropped1).jpg, with license information at creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/deed.en and creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/legalcode

“With the Kremlin critic jailed and key aides exiled or under house arrest, his supporters are struggling to launch a coherent challenge to President Vladimir Putin.” “Russian authorities are tightening the screws on Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny’s opposition network, threatening the survival of his political movement as he languishes in jail. His key aides are under house arrest or in […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Pavel Durov Revealed – Almost – in New Documentary” – Moscow Times

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

Durov … found[ed] … social networking platform VKontakte, the Russian equivalent of Facebook, and later Telegram, the encrypted messaging app […]

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U.S. Response to SolarWinds Cyber Penetrations: A Good Defense Is the Best Offense

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According to U.S. officials, Russia is the likely perpetrator of the SolarWinds cyber compromise of federal agencies, private sector firms, NGOs and academic institutions […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: NEW BOOK: “Striking Back: Overt and Covert Options to Combat Russian Disinformation” – Jamestown Foundation/ Thomas Kent

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

Disinformation by Russia and its allies has increased sharply … Western responses have been weak and uncoordinated … Striking Back presents concrete recommendations for aggressive messaging to combat Russian disinformation […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Telegram shuts down hundreds of calls for violence in U.S. last week – app founder Durov” – Interfax

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

Telegram has blocked and shut down hundreds of public calls for violence on channels connected to the recent events in the United States, Telegram founder and CEO Pavel Durov said […]

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Navalny’s Expected Return To Moscow Lights Up The Russian Internet

File Photo of Alexei Navalny Marching on Street with Others in Background; adapted from image at commons.wikimedia.org with credit to Evgeny Feldman, subject to Creative Commons license; original image at commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:FEV_1795_(cropped1).jpg, with license information at creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/deed.en and creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0/legalcode

… Navalny has announced … he will return to Russia … following months of recuperation after being poisoned by a Novichok-type nerve agent …. Compelling evidence indicates he was poisoned by … FSB[] operatives …. The Kremlin has said it was not involved … but has refused to cooperate […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russia’s Mixed Censorship Model Is a Boon for Online Activism” – Moscow Times

File Image of Artist's Conception of Globe with Curved Connecting Lines of Light Passing Through Space, adapted from image at fincen.gov

New research shows the growth of mobile internet leads to falling trust in governments, with Navalny as the prime example. (Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Jake Cordell – Dec. 4, 2020) The rapid spread of mobile internet around the world over the last decade has directly contributed to falling levels of trust in government and a surge in populism, according […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Putin explains why AI cannot yet run country” – Interfax

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

While the role of artificial intelligence (AI) in public administration is bound to grow, a machine cannot yet be the leader of a state, … Putin […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Chat Group Becomes Target of Moscow’s Wrath as Security Crackdown Widens” – New York Times/ Andrew Higgins

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

“The group started out as an online discussion of hobbies, schoolwork and sometimes politics. But then it was infiltrated by an informer for Russia’s all-powerful security services.” “… [T]he chat group … was joined by a new member who promoted unusually strident views … and pushed to turn the online chatter into a political movement …. [He] gave his name […]

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RUSSIALINK: Moscow Times: “U.S. Spams Russians With Texts Offering Rewards for Election Meddling Info”

File Image of Artist's Rendition of Cellphones, adapted from image at nih.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Aug. 7, 2020) Russians are receiving spam text messages offering huge rewards in exchange for information about their country’s efforts to interfere in the United States’ presidential election. News of the SMS messages came after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the $10 million reward in an attempt to prevent foreign interference in the […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Share of Russians who never use home PCs drops from 53% to 25% over decade – poll” – Interfax

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

MOSCOW. Aug 6 (Interfax) – Over half of Russians (58%) use their home PCs at least several times a week, as against 43% in 2010, the Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VCIOM) said in a statement seen by Interfax on Thursday. The survey indicates that number of Russians who have several PCs, including laptops, at home, has grown over eight […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “There Is No Russian Plot Against America; The Kremlin’s Electoral Interference Is All Madness and No Method” – Foreign Affairs/ Anna Arutunyan

Multilingual Polling Place Sign from U.S. Election Polling Place

“… Researchers and investigators have revealed … activities of [Kremlin-connected] Russian actors … during the 2016 election. … [yet with] comparatively little information about the real impact[,] … still less about … precise objectives. … Russian officials say and write a great deal about the United States …. What emerges is not a cunning, systematic scheme to corrode American democracy […]

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Report: U.S. Officials Say Russia-Backed Websites Spread Coronavirus Disinformation

Coronavirus File Photo adapted from image at cdc.gov

U.S. officials have identified three English-language websites that they say Russia is using to spread disinformation about the coronavirus pandemic to exploit the U.S. struggle to contain the outbreak […]

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YouTube Blocks Accounts Of Pro-Kremlin Analyst, Orthodox TV Channel In Russia

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

YouTube has blocked accounts of the Tsargrad TV channel in Russia and its former chief editor, pro-Kremlin analyst Aleksandr Dugin. … Google, which owns YouTube, said … that the accounts were blocked due to the violation of laws on sanctions and trade regulations […]

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RUSSIALINK: “‘Russia, Wake up’: Far East Protesters Seek to Set Example for Entire Country; Some local Khabarovsk activists and experts, however, wonder if the protest movement can be sustained.” – Moscow Times

Far Eastern Russia and Environs, with Khabarovsk Pinpointed, adapted from image at cdc.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Evan Gershkovich – Khabarovsk, July 27, 2020) As they have for nearly three weeks, the first protesters started to gather at Lenin Square in the city of Khabarovsk in Russia’s Far East at 7 pm on a recent weekday evening. They were soon joined by independent Russian journalists and a small army of YouTube bloggers, […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s disinformation campaigns are targeting African Americans” – Washington Post/ Zilvinas Svedkauskas, Chonlawit Sirikupt, Michel Salzer

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

“Russia is masking its involvement by outsourcing its disinformation operations to West Africa.” “… The Kremlin’s previous attempts to hijack movements such as Occupy Wall Street and the Standing Rock protests against the Dakota Access pipeline indicate that the Kremlin can skillfully reframe social protests to increase mistrust between U.S. citizens and their government. If African Americans continue to be […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s Putin sets new 2030 goals as National Projects scaled back” – bne Intellinews

Kremlin and River

“… Putin has signed a ‘July Decree’ … outlin[ing] … national development goals up to 2030 …. risk[ing] … [failure to] fulfill[] … [his] previous economic platform due to the … COVID-19[] crisis. … [with] deadlines for [the] National Projects spending spree … being pushed from 2024 to 2030. [The new platform] outline[s] five development goals: 1) maintaining the population, […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Durov on Telegram unblocking in Russia: confidentiality, privacy of correspondence remain messenger’s fundamental principle” – Interfax

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

MOSCOW. June 19 (Interfax) – Telegram founder Pavel Durov has welcomed the decision of the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology, and Mass Media (Roskomnadzor) to unblock access to the messenger service in Russia and has reaffirmed privacy of correspondence as the messenger’s fundamental principle. “What’s the practical result of the unblocking? The stability and speed of operation […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russian disinformation operation relied on forgeries, fake posts on 300 platforms, new report says” – Washington Post/ Ellen Nakashima, Craig Timberg

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

“The report underscores the ambition, sweep and scale of Russian disinformation operations” “Russian operatives used online forgeries, fake blog posts and more than 300 social media platforms to undermine opponents and spin disinformation about perceived enemies throughout the world, including in the United States, according to a new report ….  The list of figures that operatives targeted over six years […]

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First Russian Opposition Online Meeting Attracts Widespread Interest and 4800 Participants

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, April 30, 2020) The “No!” campaign organized on YouTube a virtual protest action against the amendments to the constitution and the failure of the Kremlin to act to help the population during the pandemic. It attracted only 4800 participants but far more likes and visits, observers said. This virtual protest (youtube.com/watch?v=gYDkz-tjn7E), which […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia’s edtech companies step up in the pandemic; Expansion of online learning might help modify the country’s archaic education system” – Asia Times/ Dmitriy Frolovskiy

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

“… looming economic fallout in Russia could wipe out as much as 10% of gross domestic product … yet … could also deliver … transformative shifts. Educational technology is one of the areas destined to grow worldwide. Russia is not an exception … expansion of online learning might also help modify the country’s archaic education system. [Covid-19 s]tay-at-home policies … […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Moscow’s coronavirus offensive; As the epidemic ravages Europe, the Kremlin has dialed up the disinformation and propaganda” – Politico.eu/ Hannah Roberts

File Image of Artist's Conception of Globe with Curved Connecting Lines of Light Passing Through Space, adapted from image at fincen.gov

“As the coronavirus pandemic spreads, Russia appears to be observing the adage that you should never let a good crisis go to waste. Seeking to capitalize on the chaos and promote its own soft power, the Kremlin has taken Beijing’s lead and started love-bombing struggling nations with medical aid, and stepping up its efforts to broadcast propaganda and sow disinformation […]

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Given Pandemic, Russians Increasingly Turning to Internet for News But Slow Speeds Keep Many from Using It Widely

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, April 7, 2020) As Russians are told to stay at home to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, ever more of the 82 percent who are connected to the Internet are turning to that channel for news, with the share doing so rising from 83 percent to 89 percent over the last […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Putin’s Long War Against American Science” – New York Times/ William J. Broad

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

A decade of health disinformation promoted by President Vladimir Putin of Russia has sown wide confusion, hurt major institutions and encouraged the spread of deadly illnesses. “… the pandemic has swept the globe … accompanied by a dangerous surge of false information – an ‘infodemic,’ according to the [WHO] …. Analysts say … Putin … has played a principal role […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Coronavirus Revolutionizes Russia’s Retail Scene; Retailers have been forced to digitize, move online and transform their businesses in the space of weeks” – Moscow Times

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

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Adrien Henni – April 9, 2020) Russian retail players have been rocked by the coronavirus pandemic, with the country on a month-long partial shutdown and major cities under strict quarantine, shopping habits have been transformed in a matter of days, forcing both online and offline sellers to react quickly. Even before the shutdown of many […]

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VIDEO RUSSIALINK: “Take a Hermitage Tour; Walk and walk and walk some more through the Hermitage Museum (Video)” – Moscow Times

File Photo of Hermitage Art Museum

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – March 18, 2020) If you have time on your hands and a deep love of Western art and Russian architectural extravagence, take a look at this. Five hours, one continuous shot, 45 halls and 588 works of art in the Hermitage Museum, all filmed on an iPhone without recharging. themoscowtimes.com/2020/03/18/take-a-hermitage-tour-a69670 [Additional information russianlife.com/stories/the-russia-file/5-hour-phone-film/: Apple recently […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “What’s being done to stop Russia’s election interference?” – PBS

Multilingual Polling Place Sign from U.S. Election Polling Place

“Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election has been well documented, and evidence shows Russia is again trying to undermine the 2020 election. But what is the federal government doing to stop it? Richard Hasen, founder of the Election Law Blog and author of “Election Meltdown: Dirty Tricks, Distrust, and the Threat to American Democracy,” joins Hari Sreenivasan to […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Alexander Galitsky: From Soviet Engineer to Libertarian Investor; The father of the Russian internet tells The Moscow Times he wants to kill all borders and warns that society is falling behind technology.” – Moscow Times

File Image of Stylized Eye Surrounded by Binary Code

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Jake Cordell – February 21, 2020) “If you ask me, I would say ‘kill borders’ – they don’t need to exist at all,” says Alexander Galitsky, pushing his closed notebook to the side as he warms to his topic. “All these borders and all these rules exist only for politicians. We don’t have borders with […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russia’s Sovereign Internet Law Comes Into Force; Experts say the country lacks the technology to implement the controversial legislation” – Moscow Times/ Jan Lindenau

File Image of Artist's Conception of Globe with Curved Connecting Lines of Light Passing Through Space, adapted from image at fincen.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – November 1, 2019) When the chairman of Russia’s Committee on Informational Policy, Leonid Levin, stepped on stage in Moscow’s Lomonosov building on Oct. 28 to give a speech during the second All-Russian Digital Forum he couldn’t have chosen a better place. The venue is not just the home of Russia’s fastest supercomputer, it’s also overshadowed […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Thirty-four Russians subjected to administrative liability for insulting state symbols – Prosecutor General’s Office” – Interfax

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

MOSCOW. Oct 24 (Interfax) – Courts have found 34 Russians guilty of administrative violations for insulting state symbols, Russian Prosecutor General’s Office spokesman Alexander Kurennoi said. “The police made 56 protocols of administrative violations over a period of nine months. Courts found 34 people guilty, 13 cases were closed, nine cases are pending trial,” Kurennoi said on the video channel […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Want to Insult Putin? It Will Cost You $462; Russia’s new lèse majesté law helps turn the president into a laughingstock” – Bloomberg/ Leonid Bershidsky

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

“Six months ago, Russia adopted a law making it an administrative offense to insult the government on the internet. … and in a majority of the cases where a court imposed a fine[] Russians have been punished for insulting … Putin. Instead of sheltering Putin and other top officials from harsh and vulgar criticism, however, the use of the Russian […]

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RUSSIALINK TRANSCRIPT: “Dialogue with Dmitry Medvedev; The Prime Minister discussed the Government’s plans to achieve national development goals with businesspeople and analysts on Rossiya 24’s Dialogue programme” – Government.ru

Dmitri Medvedev file photo

(Government.ru – Sept. 11, 2019 – government.ru/en/news/37840/) Excerpts from the transcript: Foreign investment Dmitry Medvedev: We live in a complicated world, and the circumstances our country has found itself in are fairly complicated as well, including sanctions and trade wars. Nevertheless, investors want to invest. Speaking of foreign investors, the RDIF and other investment-related institution activity are quite telling in […]

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Protest technologies: can innovation change the balance of power in Russia? Russian civil society is becoming more effective with the help of technology. But how far does the solidarity created online go?

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

(Opendemocracy.net – Gregory Asmolov – August 23, 2019) Gregory Asmolov is a Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at King’s College London’s Russia Institute. He researches the role of information technology in crisis situations. Crisis situations, whether natural disasters, armed conflicts or political protests are often accompanied by a cycle of technical innovation. And if it’s a question of political conflict, each […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia and China; Partnership is much better for China than it is for Russia; Just how much better might not become clear for a few years yet” – The Economist

Asia Map

“[Compared to Russia,] … China[‘s] economy is six times larger (at purchasing-power parity) … its power is growing … as Russia’s fades. … Russia is evolving into a Chinese tributary. … Russia is still a nuclear-weapons state with a permanent seat on the [UNSC]…. It has modernised its armed forces and, as in Syria, is not afraid to use them. […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russian internet giant Yandex takes rare stand against state snooping” – Christian Science Monitor/ Fred Weir

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

“The primacy of Russia’s security state is beginning to crimp the global growth of the country’s information technology sector. That could foretell hard choices for the government over what it will prioritize.” “Russia has always been some version of a national security state, in which individuals, companies, and other group interests are expected to unquestioningly submit to the needs and […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russian technology: can the Kremlin control the internet? Moscow is developing a ‘sovereign’ web that critics say will enhance official power to silence dissent” – Financial Times/ Max Seddon, Henry Foy

File Image of Artist's Conception of Globe with Curved Connecting Lines of Light Passing Through Space, adapted from image at fincen.gov

“… Activists fear Ingushetia’s blackouts could be repeated across Russia thanks to a law signed by … Putin in May. * * * … Half of Russia’s internet traffic passes through an unassuming 19-storey high rise in southwestern Moscow … hous[ing] MSK-IX [data center], the largest of the country’s internet exchange points. … the physical point of contact for over […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH AUDIO: “Generation Putin; Russia’s youth flex their political power” – PRI/ Indra Ekmanis/ Producer Daniel Ofman

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

“… For more than 33 million Russians under age 20, the leadership of Putin is the only type of government they’ve ever known. Putin succeeded Boris Yeltsin as president in 2000. Since then he’s bounced between the offices of president and prime minister, most recently barring Navalny from running against him in the 2018 presidential elections. … young Russians … […]

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75 Percent of Residents of Major Russian Cities Use Internet Every Day; Only 70 Percent Watch TV that Often

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

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, May 29, 2019) In the first quarter, Mediascope found, 75 percent of residents of major Russian cities turned to the Internet at least once a day, while only 70.4 percent of this category watched television, the first time Internet has outpaced television in Russia this way and something that will have major […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “American Hustle; What Mueller Found – and Didn’t Find – About Trump and Russia” – Foreign Affairs/ Stephen Kotkin

File Photo of White House with South Lawn and Fountain

“… Russian intelligence organizations … could manage entirely on their own to hack e-mail accounts, line up cutouts such as WikiLeaks to disseminate damaging material, impersonate Americans on social media, and study elementary research available in open sources about battleground states and swing voters. * * * … The sections of the report that treat what Russia intended and achieved […]

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Yekaterinburg ‘Beginning of the Revolution,’ SerpomPo Says

Yekaterinburg file photo

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, May 14, 2019) “Thus [the revolution] begins,” the SerpomPo telegram channel says, with the population ready to come into the square to defend its rights and dignity against the powers of “the mafia state, in this case, the state’s church department,” a segment of the regime which has failed to draw the […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH VIDEO: “New Russian Documentary Brings the Horrors of the Gulag to the YouTube Generation; Yuri Dud’s documentary has garnered millions of views in days. From Global Voices.” – Transitions Online/ Alexey Kovalev

File Photo of Kolyma Mountains Satellite Image, adapted from image at noaa.gov

“… former sports reporter … [Yuri Dud] runs his own YouTube interview show …. generat[ing] millions of views … a serious competitor even to state-owned TV. … [T]he subject of Dud’s latest show shocked his … 5 million [subscribers] and the general public: a two-hour documentary about the Kolyma region, in Russia’s far northeast … almost synonymous with Stalin-era repressions. […]

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