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The Kremlin Tightens Its Grip on the Internet 280

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the more-you-tighten-your-fingers dept.
reporter writes "According to a report just published by "The Washington Post", the percentage of Russian adults having access to the Internet has risen from 8% in 2002 to 25% in 2007. This growth has attracted the attention of the Kremlin. Its allies are creating pro-Kremlin web sites and are purchasing web sites known for high-quality independent journalism. Pro-Kremlin bloggers have used their skills to bury news about anti-Kremlin demonstrations: at Russian news portals, web links to news about pro-Kremlin rallies consistently rank higher than web links to news about anti-Kremlin demonstrations. The most disturbing development is that the Kremlin intends to develop a Russian Internet which is separate from the global Internet. Russian officials are studying the techniques that the Chinese use to censor the Internet."
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The Kremlin Tightens Its Grip on the Internet

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  • Spooky (Score:5, Funny)

    by Stormwatch (703920) <rodrigogirao AT hotmail DOT com> on Sunday October 28, 2007 @09:10AM (#21147555) Homepage
    Seriously. I got a "Nothing for you to see here. Please move along."
    • Re:Spooky (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 28, 2007 @09:34AM (#21147709)
      > Seriously. I got a "Nothing for you to see here. Please move along."

      You must be American. I got a "Please to move along, for nothing here sees YOU!"

  • Not surprising (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bearhouse (1034238) on Sunday October 28, 2007 @09:13AM (#21147575)
    Putin, and more importantly, the team of ex-KGB people around him, will of course seek to control the Internet in Russia.
    All the other media, such as newpapers and TV, are firmly pro-Kremlin. Independant journalists are imprisoned or assasinated by - of course - nameless 'enemies of the state'.

    It's a shame that the promise of democracy there turned out to be yet another 'false dawn'.

    Europe will do nothing, since the bear's paw is firmly on their throat, i.e. the oil and gas supply...

    Next up, Google et al 'voluntary censorship'?
    • by reporter (666905) on Sunday October 28, 2007 @01:00PM (#21148841) Homepage
      Russian society has regressed beyond merely (1) government control of the media and (2) Kremlin-ordered assassinations that eliminate probing journalists. There is now a third way: police psychiatry.

      The "Washington Post" recently published a chilling story [washingtonpost.com] about "police psychiatry" in Russia. Powerful thugs in the government (including the police) and in commercial businesses bribe judges and doctors to declare that a mentally healthy person is mentally incompetent. Then, the "justice" (in a very loose sense of the word) system will imprison the victim in a mental institution. There, the doctors proceed to "treat" the victim with beatings and injections of psychotic substances.

      The article by the "Washington Post" mentions that Larissa Arap, a human-rights activist, was one such victim. She had written a damning article about the horrible state of psychiatric wards in Russia. In response, psychiatrists and judges -- under orders from the Kremlin -- imprisoned her in a psychiatric ward. She was subjected to 6 weeks of beatings and injections with an unknown psychotic substance. After numerous letters pleading for her life from Gary Kasparov and other human-rights activits, the Kremlin finally released her.

      What is most disturbing about police psychiatry is that it is practiced not only by the Kremlin. This "tool" is also used by ordinary Russians who want to rid themselves of people whom they dislike.

      Slashdot should create a new topic category for Russia. It deserves its own topic category for story submissions; the horrors in today's Russia should be an active topic of discussion (condemnation?) for any Westerner who has an iota of compassion. This article by the "Washington Post" should scare any Westerner.

      • Sounds exactly like the old Soviet days. Seriously, all that's missing is for the government to rename all those industries it nationalized into subdepartments of the ministry of the interior (or whatever the proper translation is), and the police to be put back into secret, ultra-effective mode. And the real bitch of it is that most Russians will probably be happy that the government is doing this because, hey, under the old regime there was at least food on the table, and the streets were safe.

        In Soviet R
        • by sanman2 (928866) on Sunday October 28, 2007 @08:56PM (#21152593)
          I'm not Russian, I'm Asian, but from my point of view, a lot of the criticism against the Kremlin comes from pro-NATO Cold War biases. ie. Everything that NATO countries do is right, and everything Putin & Co do is wrong.

          As somebody who doesn't want to see the world return to its pre-ColdWar state of European hegemony, I'll say that I'm glad that Russians are fostering a robust sense of nationalism, because historically they've been ruled over by outsiders and foreign-imposed govts. Even if you look at the Bolshevik Revolution that brought Russia under communist rule, it was backed by Western European powers trying to undermine the Czar. That drunken Boris Yeltsin was likewise a Manchurian Candidate who used to give away all kinds of concessions on international treaties, while using his control over the media to suppress the opposition, but he wasn't criticized because the West was benefitting from his undemocratic rule. Those aren't good precedents, and I think the Russians need to develop some natural immunity against foreign manipulation.

          While some in the West cry for "more democracy in Russia," one can also note how there was a cry to "bring democracy to Iraq" -- and look what that caused. Similarly, while some will cry that Russia "must share oil" with the world, there was the similar "liberate vital oil supplies from Saddam's tyranny."

          It's good to see the Russians regaining their natural strength after having it sapped by carpetbaggers from abroad. It's their country, and I like the fact that Russians can produce politicians who are willing to stand up for their nation, even if it comes to going nose-to-nose with Westerners who think the world is their oyster.
          • by rtb61 (674572) on Sunday October 28, 2007 @10:05PM (#21153079) Homepage
            I see you miss the whole western ideal of individualism, of the rights of the individual and in turn the collective rights of all individuals over the rights of the state, especially when the rights of the state are really only the rights of a minority of greed obsessed, power mad, psychopathic individuals hiding behind a nationalistic image of a state.

            The rights of an individual and in turn the collective rights of all individuals can be shared across all humanity. Nationalism has been and always will be seen as destructive. It is nothing but self serving camouflage for the failings of a society which the power 'elite'(those crazy, fucked up, psychopaths) hide behind to gain and maintain control over the ignorant masses. That is the real threat and power of the Internet, turning the ignorant masses into the informed masses and the power elite into convicts.

            Not that democracies are always working to the benefit of individuals. In fact at the moment, there is a clear cut example of the abuse of the collective rights of individuals by the current US administration working in conjunction with major corporations and mass media, all based upon typical nationalistic lies. So no society is immune from the threat imposed by autocratic sociopaths, screaming nationalistic propaganda whilst they line their own pockets with the profits and blood of their fellow country men. A free and open internet is the best way by which to put those lies to a final well deserved end and put some of the worst criminal behind bars.

            All, no thanks to those money grubbing slimy executives hiding behind their corporate façades, like the googlites, the microsofties and the yahoos et al corporate profits over the future of humanity.

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by sanman2 (928866)
              I see you're the typical snooty European / White supremacist who thinks that other parts of the world historically lack individualism and diversity. MacCaulay famously coined the phrase "White Man's Burden" whereby he felt that Europeans had an historic responsibility to civilize the non-Europeans and save them from their own inferior mentality. This was of course the argument used to advance colonial conquest of the non-European world.

              Calling for individualism should not be done as a pretext, like the call
              • by shutdown -p now (807394) on Monday October 29, 2007 @01:16AM (#21154159) Journal

                Europe has a glaring conflict of interest in calling for changes in Russia, which will invariably increase the likelihood of European domination of Russia. I don't think that non-Europeans should have to bow to Europeans, on penalty of being called "anti-individualist", "anti-democratic", or whatever other trumped up charge is to be coined in the moment.
                Who said Russians are not European? Ethnically, they most certainly are, being mostly Slavs. Culturally they are still closer to Europeans, even though the legacy of millenia-old asiatic despotism has left a heavy mark on the people.

                Tell you what. I'm Russian, born here in Russia and living here since birth. And I consider myself a European, and so do the majority of people who I know. The acceptance of Western ideals such as individual freedom and liberalism varies, naturally, but it's nowhere near unanimous acceptance or rejection. Our present-day "patriotic" nationalists are mostly braindead "Greater Russia" style, bent on restoring the border to the original USSR one, introducing Eastern Orthodoxy as a state religion, and advocating historical revisionism bordering on Holocaust denial (ever heard of Holodomor, Molotov-Ribbentrop pact, or the Katyn massacre? these people did, and they claim all those historical events for lies and "Western plots to undermine Russia"). Our politicians, including the President, breed nationalistic fervor where it suits them, but are otherwise busy splitting the country riches between themselves. Meanwhile, Russia is steadily falling in the various politic/economic freedom and corruption indices ever since Putin came to power, at the same time that number of government bureaucrats grows.

                So, do tell, why do you feel you have any more right to teach us than the West? At least they have the examples of their own countries, which are faring rather well last I checked, to back their words. But I don't think there's anything Asian countries have worth learning in political sphere, judging from how the ones that have most freedom and strongest economies have heavily copied the West before (Japan, South Korea, Taiwan...). And no, thank you, I do not want my country to be like the PRC or Burma.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by siddesu (698447)
            It's good to see the Russians regaining their natural strength after having it sapped by carpetbaggers from abroad.

            Come on, Russian strength have been sapped by their Communist leaders much more than by foreign "carpetbaggers". The only really huge recent "sapping" of foreign origin was the German Nazi invasion in WW2. The rest -- especially since then -- the hundreds of thousands dead in labor camps, the near destruction of their economy caused by inefficient economic policies, their environmental and dem
      • by rs79 (71822)
        This is not an uncommon theme [google.com] in the US to the point where the practice was ridiculed on stage (and subsequent film) in the 1940's and 50s. Ever seen the movie Harvey [imdb.com]?

        As for torture in prisons, maybe they're using the Bush administration definition of what is torture and what is not.
    • Yes, we will (Score:3, Interesting)

      by andersh (229403) *
      Wrong, Europe is not under the bear. In fact what you don't seem to realize is that Europe's relationship with Russia is more complex. As for energy policy one European country, Norway, is the world's third largest exporter of oil and gas. In the south North-African countries are just beginning to supply Europe. But we are keeping tabs on how Russia behaves, not giving into their tantrum politics (Ukraine). EU-Russia relationship [europa.eu] And Europe is doing plenty to encourage development of democratic institution
  • by deftcoder (1090261) on Sunday October 28, 2007 @09:14AM (#21147579)

    Russian officials are studying the techniques that the Chinese use to censor the Internet.
    Then they'll realize quite quickly that you can't censor the Internet. At least not for long.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hacktivism [wikipedia.org]
    • Not so fast (Score:4, Informative)

      by The_Mystic_For_Real (766020) on Sunday October 28, 2007 @09:36AM (#21147717)
      It seems here that they intend to airgap their country from the rest of the world. Obviously someone could run across the border to bring DVDs, or maybe hack the phones to call an international ISP, but this will certainly make things difficult.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by porkThreeWays (895269)
      You could very well replace the name "Russia" in the article with "United States" and I don't think it would surprise most here. I guess the pro-kremlin bloggers would then be Fox News?
      • Hardly so simple (Score:5, Informative)

        by tjstork (137384) <todd.bandrowsky@NOSpAM.gmail.com> on Sunday October 28, 2007 @10:23AM (#21147983) Homepage Journal
        You could very well replace the name "Russia" in the article with "United States" and I don't think it would surprise most here. I guess the pro-kremlin bloggers would then be Fox News?

        A couple of things.

        Russia is not so simple. First, Putin is enormously popular in Russia. He has put food in the belly of the Russian people, their standards of living are higher, and so on. In the mind of the average Russian, over there, someone supporting the likes of a pure democracy movement are the crooks and cronies from the Yeltsin era. Those crooks and cronies, in turn, are the very former communist leaders that they rebelled against to begin with!

        Secondly, yes, there is Fox News and they tend to feature columnists that are sympathetic to the right wing of American politics. Guess what, that's half the country dude. The only reason Republicans are in trouble now, well, there are a lot, is because of the skyrocketing cost of energy and the growing realization that the Republicans in Washington aren't so Republican after all. If you think the likes of Hannity give Bush a blank check, you'd be dead wrong. Hannity -routinely- condemns Bush on immigration and was one of the key players to stop the Bush immigration reform bill dead in its tracks. Similarly, just wait until Bush flip flops on the ridiculous law of the sea treaty or tries to enact some sort of a carbon tax. He'd be dead meat.

        Finally, the key difference between the USA and other places around the world that the left is so fond of comparing us too, is that, the left wing is allowed to spout its own opinions. If MoveOn was in Russia or China, they most certainly not exist. But then, neither would the NRA.
        • by wytcld (179112) on Sunday October 28, 2007 @11:04AM (#21148243) Homepage
          Just to keep this in perspective, Stalin is enormously popular in Russia. About 60% of younger Russians, in a recent poll, said they admire Stalin greatly. The main difference between Russia and the US now in that regard is one of degree - the base for authoritarianism in Russia is that 60% (plus some), whereas the base for authoritarianism in the US is only at the 30% of hard-core Bushies - now leaning towards Rudy - plus a few percent of the Hillary supporters.

          But those figures are for what we might call "hard" authoritarianism. There's "soft" authoritarianism that's another large block in the US: the sort that enforces "conventional wisdom" across our corporate media. It's not the stuff that FOX is the outlier on that's the key that locks the American mind, but the stuff that FOX/ABC/NBC/CBS/Time/Newsweek and often even the NY Times share as common stances and assumptions. That's what took us into the Iraq disaster in such stupid form, not that "Bush lied us into it." It's a kinder, gentler authoritarianism - that lets us believe we're a "free" people while jailing a larger proportion of our population than any other industrialized country, and ignoring the clear majority will in favor of universal health care, large-scale restructuring of energy use, and the end of corporate domination of our politics.

          I'm sure Putin would agree that Russia should only have it so good.
          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by tjstork (137384)
            whereas the base for authoritarianism in the US is only at the 30% of hard-core Bushies - now leaning towards Rudy - plus a few percent of the Hillary supporters.

            I really don't think you can honestly categorize the hard core Bushie supporter as someone who is authoritarian, when, Bush's hallmark has been tax cuts, environmental deregulation, and a solid endorsement of the individual right to keep and bear arms. By contrast, ALL of Hillary's supporters demand higher taxes on everyone but themselves, a stron
            • by quanticle (843097)

              Really, if anyone is authoritarian in the United States, it is the American left wing. We right wingers are just a bunch of rednecks that would just as soon not have a federal government at all.

              Your portion of the right wing, perhaps. The right wing in the USA is split between the libertarians (those who want no federal government) and the neoconservatives (people like Cheney and Rudy). While the libertarians want a lower federal budget and less government, the neocons want more government power, in the

          • by tjstork (137384)
            and ignoring the clear majority will in favor of universal health care, large-scale restructuring of energy use, and the end of corporate domination of our politics.


            All of which, are issues, that you want to solve in authoritarian ways. You want to have a big government socialized medicine, federal mandates to control what and how we use energy, and then, to top it all off, you want to undermine the power of free enterprise and private investment. So, other than, trying to regulate everything from food to
            • With your 'examples' one could consider the government laws making murder illegal to be authoritarian. Me thinks you think too highly of the 'free market'.
              • Laws limiting what people can do with their own lives and property are not in the same class as laws limiting what people can do with others' lives and property against the others' will. You may reasonably think both kinds of laws are necessary, but if you want to convince others of that view, then pretending a distinction doesn't exist is disingenuous.
              • With your 'examples' one could consider the government laws making murder illegal to be authoritarian. Me thinks you think too highly of the 'free market'.

                Spoken like a true religious fanatic.
            • by marcello_dl (667940) on Sunday October 28, 2007 @05:02PM (#21150857) Homepage Journal
              IMHO the issue is not how much a government is in control of things: the issue is if the government is expression of the people vs. expression of other interests.

              Post-soviet but pre-Putin Russia has been for a while a completely deregulated country. Yet it was not a free country because the power was held by people with big capital or mafiosi (not exclusive or) and the ordinary citizen stood not a chance against them.

              Since the late eighties in Italy we have a wave of privatization of formerly state owned infrastructure. Electricity, gas, telephony, university, railways, highways. Nothing was done to ensure competition. Ask my fellow countrymen: bills are up, service sucks more (luckily with some exceptions). Theoretically we are in a less authoritarian state, in practice authority has just shifted hands - away from the control of the citizen.
          • by mqduck (232646)

            It's a kinder, gentler authoritarianism - that lets us believe we're a "free" people while jailing a larger proportion of our population than any other industrialized country, and ignoring the clear majority will in favor of universal health care, large-scale restructuring of energy use, and the end of corporate domination of our politics.

            I agree with your whole post. However, I think this robs the term "authoritarianism" of its meaning. The percentage of people in prison? Okay, that's a good indicator. But controlling people's minds through control of information, and placating people with the illusion of democracy is practically the definition of what authoritarianism isn't.

            You need to come up with another term. As a Marxist, I'd use the term "bourgeois liberal democracy", which implies every thing you said, but I don't expect that one to

        • by houghi (78078)

          Secondly, yes, there is Fox News and they tend to feature columnists that are sympathetic to the right wing of American politics.

          So why not admit to it? Why istead say that tehy are ballanced and fair? And saying that tend to means to me you have never ever seen any any other broadcasing in the world.

          And it is not just the columnists, it is the whole fucking company, starting at the top. Most blogs are more objective and have more integrity that Fox News has.

          Oh and they have the facts on many posters [google.com] here a

          • There's a market for Fox News. There are people who give them audience. So, they give what their audience wants. The same can be said for CNN, and in fact any other media corporation. Actually, it's not that bad as you may think. All segments of society have their own favourite media outlet, and also their own satanic evil media group to blame. Youve choices, get used to it.
          • by tjstork (137384)
            So why not admit to it? Why istead say that tehy are ballanced and fair? And saying that tend to means to me you have never ever seen any any other broadcasing in the world.

            I really don't care what it says to you, because you are just a left wing religious fanatic.

            FoxNews is fair and balanced because on the whole, the country is right leaning, whereas, the rest of the media is a bunch of left wing shills like yourself. And yes, I listen to NPR and the BBC. The BBC is admittedly leftist, by its own owners.
        • Russia is not so simple. First, Putin is enormously popular in Russia. He has put food in the belly of the Russian people, their standards of living are higher, and so on. In the mind of the average Russian, over there, someone supporting the likes of a pure democracy movement are the crooks and cronies from the Yeltsin era. Those crooks and cronies, in turn, are the very former communist leaders that they rebelled against to begin with!

          While mostly correct, this is not the whole truth. Most notably, the e

        • by temcat (873475)
          He has put food in the belly of the Russian people

          Oh puh-lease. It's certainly not Putin who did it. Yes, a correlation does exist, but there is very little causation in it.
      • by nbauman (624611) on Sunday October 28, 2007 @10:33AM (#21148043) Homepage Journal
        http://www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=07/08/07/130258 [democracynow.org] Democracy Now!
        August 7th, 2007
        Freedom Next Time: Filmmaker & Journalist John Pilger on Propaganda, the Press, Censorship and Resisting the American Empire

        John Pilger: One of my favorite stories about the Cold War concerns a group of Russian journalists who were touring the United States. On the final day of their visit, they were asked by the host for their impressions. "I have to tell you," said the spokesman, "that we were astonished to find after reading all the newspapers and watching TV day after day that all the opinions on all the vital issues are the same. To get that result in our country we send journalists to the gulag. We even tear out their fingernails. Here you don't have to do any of that. What is the secret?"
      • by Fred_A (10934)

        You could very well replace the name "Russia" in the article with "United States" and I don't think it would surprise most here. I guess the pro-kremlin bloggers would then be Fox News?
        Shouldn't that be "Bear News" so it sounds a bit more local ?
    • And the desire to "censor the Internet" is not limited to Russia and China. In every country, you can find people who want to control the movement of information online.

      You can't control what people use their PCs for, or what they send over their own private networks. But you can tightly control the information moving over the public network. I think that this could be done by requiring all packets to be digitally signed by the originator. Routers at your ISP and on the backbone would reject packets lacking
    • by kdemetter (965669)
      True , they won't be able to disconnect from the internet interely , but they will be able to do so for most people .

      Not everyone has the skills to get around censorship . And those who do will keep quit , to ensure they are not detected .
      All they need , after all , if for the majority of people to believe the lies . Those lies can be used to make that majority of people turn against those who wish to tell the truth.

      Now , this isn't just the case for Russia of China .
      Total control over information is very u
    • The more things change, the more they stay the same

      Authoritarian rule does not require total censorship - it just requires that most people be willing to tolerate it and be a little afraid of the consequences of opposing it. The Internet has the potential to be the ultimate tool of authoritarian rule because you can log communication and networks of friends, research a person's thinking and map out who the opinion-shapers are within any troublesome clique. A small percentage may be knowledgeable enough t

  • well (Score:5, Insightful)

    by FrivolousPig (602133) on Sunday October 28, 2007 @09:16AM (#21147591)
    In a world where information is power, governments who don't actually represent their people will always try to control the knowledge that their people have access to, lest they loose their grip on them.
    • Didn't they get like 70% in the elections? Which would mean that they do represent their people.
       
      • Didn't they get like 70% in the elections? Which would mean that they do represent their people.

        Yes, and it's similar to the US. In the US the political party who has the most control over the media wins the election (I'm mainly thinking of advertising dollars here... and you can't even run if you can't afford to canvas for a large amount of signatures supporting your candidacy). Similar to Russia, but the brute force issues involved in representing your people are more financial in the US than outright phy

  • by OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) on Sunday October 28, 2007 @09:19AM (#21147607) Homepage
    Of people's attempts to silence others. After all, if we weren't, we'd have to go after a hell of a lot of muslims urgently. And they do a lot more silencing than even the kremlin.
    • by Erris (531066)

      Of people's attempts to silence others.

      If we do not defend the rights of others, we will soon have none ourselves. People without freedom can be expended at will by their leaders to remove your own freedom. It is good to condem oppression wherever you see it. Trade, laws, war and peace must follow morals. If you can change your morals to accommodate other things, you have no morals.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by timeOday (582209)
      I interpret your remark as: "all you people condemning censorship in Russia better line up behind US foreign policy in the middle east, or I'll call you hypocrites for opposing dictatorship in one case and supporting it in the other." Is that about right?
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by apparently (756613)
      After all, if we weren't, we'd have to go after a hell of a lot of muslims urgently. And they do a lot more silencing than even the kremlin.


      Wow. What kind of kool-aid did you get? I got a pack of Cheneyberry sitting in my cupboard, but I haven't tried it yet. Is the new FoxCherryBlast formula as good as the old?

      • Allow me to reply with a verdict of a muslim court :

        http://web.amnesty.org/library/Index/ENGMDE130692005 [amnesty.org]

        Perhaps you'd like to go over and try your luck ? One would hope this would make you come to your senses, but I fear that would be slightly too much to ask.
  • Pro-Kremlin bloggers have used their skills to bury news about anti-Kremlin demonstrations: at Russian news portals, web links to news about pro-Kremlin rallies consistently rank higher than web links to news about anti-Kremlin demonstrations.

    So, the Russians are adopting the tactics of the Bush administration. It's a sad day for Russia.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by edwardpickman (965122)
      Actually the Bush administration are a pack of ameteurs at this, Putin and his cronies are pros and have been doing it far longer. The big fear should be that Bush and his pack learn from Putin and turn pro.
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by vityok (1040682)
      After watching Fox News on YouTube for some time, I can not tell if there is any difference between Fox News or Kremlin News -- they both are really twisted. If taken seriously, it is ridiculous that the bushies have launched an aggression on another independent state, established unlawful trials and tortures for the prisoners, having intelligence agencies spy on own citizens, did not sign Kioto treaty and so forth are criticizing Russia for some unclear reasons. It is like if the Oceania is on war with E
      • Fox News is not the only news channel in USA, though. And the Bush goverment did not crack down on opposition channels, like Putin did with regards to NTV and later TV6.
  • In other news... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by realdodgeman (1113225) on Sunday October 28, 2007 @09:30AM (#21147681) Homepage
    After 10 years of research, investigators have discovered that governments are, in fact, manipulative.
  • Wow (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 28, 2007 @09:32AM (#21147691)
    So, does this mean that kremvax will be brought back online?
  • Surprised? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by blind biker (1066130) on Sunday October 28, 2007 @09:37AM (#21147727) Journal
    If you are, you haven't been paying attention. All independent TV stations have been closed, one way or the other, in Russia. The same is true for newspapers, with few exceptions. And the journalists brave enough to speak up have dire times looking ahead. Remember Anna Politkovskaya [wikipedia.org]?
    • Re:Surprised? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Sunday October 28, 2007 @09:59AM (#21147843)
      For me, as a Russian citizen, that certainly is a huge problem. There is no free mainstream media, TV is so much controlled, that there is not much point watching it (not that there is much point watchin it in any other country, I am pretty sure about this, as I used to live in US and visit Europe quite often).

      That being said, I doubt Kremlin would control Interner media, at least if they have a little bit of brain that is. The reason being, it is quite importnat to give those liberals like myslef some breathing space and keep them off the streets and demonstrations.
    • by Black-Man (198831)
      You know she had known ties to Chechnya separtists - so I think she is a bad example. I just don't understand why Putin goes after anyone who has ties to the Chechnya rebellion whereas he's glad handing the Iranians who support them? Seems like a dysfunctional foreign policy.

      • To have these actions make sense, simply consider that Putin sees all things going on in the former Soviet area as being domestic issues rather than foreign. Checnya = domestic, Iran = foreign.
  • Fox is a privately owned broadcaster...

    Says it all really.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Jeremy Erwin (2054)
      You could read a newspaper, or switch to ITV, or Channel 4. In Russia, the "competitors" are also owned by the state.
  • Obligatory (Score:3, Funny)

    by MaXimillion (856525) on Sunday October 28, 2007 @09:46AM (#21147777)
    In Soviet Russia, the government controls you.

    No, wait...
  • by 3seas (184403) on Sunday October 28, 2007 @09:48AM (#21147787) Journal
    ...its the Russian mafia network.

    So even if the kremlin managed to create their own country internet there would still be the russian mafias world wide internet.
  • by mattr (78516)
    Good thing he says he's pals with Bush. Or is that because of the family links to the CIA? All Putin's doing is what he's good at. Doing what Cisco and Yahoo taught China to do, and adding a helping of 20th century Russian self-hatred and sado-control. It's too bad really, all the guy's imagination and efforts are completely warped into a useless direction that will mean nothing in the future. Making pro-Kremlin sites is okay, I was going to say he should make pro-space and pro-biotech engineering sites but
  • by cryfreedomlove (929828) on Sunday October 28, 2007 @10:25AM (#21147991)
    This is short sighted on the part of Russia. Russia has a brain drain problem. Silicon Valley is awash in bright Russian immigrant software developers who love the opportunities and freedoms they are getting. This increased censorship and eroding of basic rights back home in Russia will only increase that trend and leave Russia holding the bag with the beaten down and uninspired population that will remain.
    • Living in Silicon Valley, the nerve center of anti-establishmentarianism on the Internet, does not necessarily change the mentality of the Russians. I chatted with one fellow in Silicon Valley, and he highly praised Natalia Narochnitskaya [wikipedia.org].

      She is a member of the Rodina block [washingtonpost.com], which was a political party created by the Kremlin and which was eventually merged into a larger party called "Just Russia". The leader of the Rodina block has advocated restricting the operation of human-rights non-governmental org [washingtonpost.com]

      • Yes, some of us are like that. Some are not. Me, I'm waiting for 2008 to see how things are going to turn out this time (still have some, weak as they are, hopes for the "color revolution" happening here as well), but if it keeps on the same way, I'm getting out of here, preferrably somewhere to EU, Canada, or other similarly civilized place...

        Anyone out there needs a C++ developer who can cite the ISO C++ Standard by heart, with additional strong knowledge of .NET (MCSD); a decent assortment of other ski

  • "Russian officials are studying the techniques that the Chinese use to censor the Internet.""

    It doesn't hurt that Chinese telecom ZTE [wikipedia.org] is moving product into Russia as fast as possible, either.
  • by jollyreaper (513215) on Sunday October 28, 2007 @10:28AM (#21148007)
    The thing that I never understood, defense hawks are not really for a strong defense, a cost-effective way of protecting our home soil. Defense hawks are about big contracts and big paychecks. They'd rather pay a billion bucks for the platinum-plated solid gold whiz-bang wonderweapon but don't want to spare a nickel for the soldiers who man them.

    So much of the Cold War was snake-oil salesmen from the defense industry peddling their wares and enriching themselves and the generals while also increasing the likelihood that these weapons would be used in a shooting war.

    What's the easiest way to cut down a mighty oak tree? When you can pinch the life out of it between two fingers. In other words, just after it's sprouted. But we seem to like the idea of planting the tree in the first place, letting it get plenty of sun and rain, wait until it's grown into an imposing presence, then we get to whip out the chainsaws and dynamite. If Shel Silverstein ever wrote about this, he'd have to call it "the Stupid Tree."
    • What's the easiest way to cut down a mighty oak tree? When you can pinch the life out of it between two fingers. In other words, just after it's sprouted. But we seem to like the idea of planting the tree in the first place, letting it get plenty of sun and rain, wait until it's grown into an imposing presence, then we get to whip out the chainsaws and dynamite. If Shel Silverstein ever wrote about this, he'd have to call it "the Stupid Tree."

      I guess the tree is a metaphor for the internet in this case?

      Then

      • by jollyreaper (513215) on Sunday October 28, 2007 @04:04PM (#21150357)

        I guess the tree is a metaphor for the internet in this case?
        No, the tree I was talking about are our current enemies. Wasn't much we could do with Stalin, he was a paranoid bastard. But after the fall of communism, we should have engaged with the Russians, prevented what came to follow under Yeltsin. Now the average Russian citizen associates democracy with gangster capitalism and is sick of it. They're happy with a strongman like Putin. We helped bolster Saddam after we royally fucked up in Iran, we helped create Osama and the Mujahedeen when the Soviets were fucking around in Afghanistan, etc. And rather than deal with these problems then, we let them fester so that we can then justify a massive military response in the future. Look at what we're doing with Iran now. If we'd engaged with the moderates and reformers, we could have stirred the people against the hardliners. But we went in like dick-swinging jocks and now the hardliners have the support of the people, we're looking at expensive missile defense systems to protect against a threat they don't even have yet, and are talking about going into another war.

        I'm just saying that a strong national defense is not just about guns and bombs, it's about diplomacy. Like the doctors say, the best medicine is prevention. Eat right and exercise, you've already won the battle. If the doc is cracking your chest open for a quadruple bypass, you could call that a shooting war and it's a sign you already lost. (complicated metaphor, I know.) But like Big Pharma and Medicine, the defense industry isn't about prevention or curing the disease, they're about making money off of treating the symptoms. The hospital is just as happy you had a heart attack, more moolah for them.
    • by Fred_A (10934)

      The thing that I never understood, defense hawks are not really for a strong defense, a cost-effective way of protecting our home soil. Defense hawks are about big contracts and big paychecks. They'd rather pay a billion bucks for the platinum-plated solid gold whiz-bang wonderweapon but don't want to spare a nickel for the soldiers who man them.
      Why should they ? Do soldiers maximize investor revenue ?

    • don't want to spare a nickel for the soldiers who man them.

      That is not the case. They are willing to pay exhorbinently for soldiers, so long as the private sector provides them. Remember, this is the same group that thinks the private sector can always do better, cheaper. So, when mercinaries need to make $300,000/year to be in Iraq, it must be fair. But pay more under a socialist system? Then what are we defending our country from?

  • by jihadist (1088389) on Sunday October 28, 2007 @10:29AM (#21148017) Homepage Journal
    As Plato said, bad propaganda conditions your people to do stupid things, and they don't have time to figure it out. I'd do the same thing, but I give Russia few chances of success, given how elusive self-governance has been for them since they overthrew their Nordid leaders and replaced them with fields of peasant Slavs.
  • Kent Brockman: "Also in the news today, a team of researchers has found that the amount of email spam has increased over 300% since the early part of this decade. Scientists are still searching for the cause of this increase."
  • Its allies are creating pro-Kremlin web sites and are purchasing web sites known for high-quality independent journalism.
    Unlike Rupert Murdoch.
  • by barwasp (1116567) on Sunday October 28, 2007 @10:41AM (#21148099)
    nothing... CNN [cnn.com] thinks the following US news are enough:

    * Entire school system shuts for superbug scrub
    * Train kills 5-year-old boy
    * Genarlow Wilson freed | 'We want him home' Video
    * Indian tribes expel members
    * Mobile home dwellers ride out fire, wait for help
    * Fatal fetus theft leads to death sentence
    * Mob considered whacking Guiliani Video
    * Feds: Look out for shoe-bombers
    * Commander loses job amid nuclear sub probe

    ...so in the US anti-bush news are just anti-patriotic / anti-american... the only difference between the Russian news control is that Putin started a bit earlier than Bush.


    > Pro-Kremlin bloggers have used their skills to bury news about anti-Kremlin demonstrations:

    ahhh, if some CNN wievers want to learn about recent anti-bush demonstrations, tune into BBC [bbc.co.uk].
    • by khallow (566160)
      Well, I did as the other replier to your post suggested and looked through a few days worth of US stories. A ton of stuff about the california fires and nothing about any anti-war protests. I must admit that I suspected this would not be a productive use of my time.
  • by WindBourne (631190) on Sunday October 28, 2007 @11:21AM (#21148311) Journal
    During the 50's, 60's, and 70's, America, and then the whole of the free world lead the planet. The reason is that we had a capitalism helping us move things alone. In particular, we developed our resources VERY quickly. Neither China nor USSR was not able to do that, because they were totalitarian states combined with command economics. Now, Russia is heading to what China is, but the difference is that China has the lead in manufacturing and Russia now has the resources, all of which America was the leader in before. The point being unless the free world quickly develops alternative and nuclear energy, we are probably going to be in the same place that we were in before, only with us on the losing end. The truth is that totalitarian govs. are VERY efficient (do not like the result? shoot it). It was the command economy that was not. If we have a low cost energy again, then the free world can expand rapidly into automated manufacturing.

  • The most disturbing development is that the Kremlin intends to develop a Russian Internet which is separate from the global Internet

    It's worth noting that a good bit of the spam and plain criminal activity on the internet comes out of Russia--the Storm botnet is largely thought to be owned and operated by the Russian mafia. The RIAA would be happy to have mp3.com inaccessible from Western markets.

    A segregation of the internet into World portions and Russian portions might have a short-term benefit as t
  • Any surprise here ? (Score:3, Informative)

    by unity100 (970058) on Sunday October 28, 2007 @12:34PM (#21148725) Homepage Journal
    China, Iran, we already know what kind of cultures these countries have. Why does anyone get surprised when Italy or Russia goes for censorship ? Italy is a country that rich media bosses can rule with much scandal, as they please. Russia is a country in which whoever gets too successful in criticizing the government gets killed in a car bomb. Recently russian police have beaten Gary Kasparov in an anti-kremlin demonstration.

    all countries act as per their cultures towards internet.
    • by mean pun (717227)

      China, Iran, we already know what kind of cultures these countries have.

      Really? If with 'we' you mean the collective mind of Slashdot, I have to disagree. The collective mind of Slashdot only knows the cliches about every country except the USA and perhaps Great Brittain. I'm glad I'm not assimilated yet.

      Italy is a country that rich media bosses can rule with much scandal, as they please.

      That is about as accurate as

      The USA is a country that rich oil bosses can rule with much scandal, as they please.

  • Like Faux News, and Limburger - come on, how many SELF-DESCRIBED liberals or leftists are there in the US media, or on the big, corporate websites (or, say, federal gov't sites, like say FEMA)?

    Eight or nine years ago, a columnist in the Chicago Trib counted just columnists, and in papers with overt agendas (such as Mother Jones, or the Wall Street Journal), and foudn something like 57 right-wingers, half a dozen or so "moderates', and less than that of liberals (and Molly Ivins is now gone).

    So why *shouldn'
  • hmm (Score:4, Informative)

    by mapkinase (958129) on Sunday October 28, 2007 @01:04PM (#21148877) Homepage Journal
    Couple of words of Internet landscape in Russia. As many of you know, Livejournal is the service of choice for most of Russian bloggers and, most importantly, the only service that is used for the political discourse. Other services like number #2 in ratings, Liveinternet.ru populated by pop-music fans and all kinds of juvenile nonsense.

    On the contrary, there are many political blogs among top bloggers at the cyrillic sector of Livejournal. It interesting that the most dominant and most vocal part of political blogs are not those that advocate Western style democracy and human rights, but on the contrary are criticizing Putin from extremely right-wing position.

    I am looking at blogs.yandex.ru, 5 most cited blog entries, and among number 2 [livejournal.com] (rus) is defending arrested leader of "Red blitzkrieg" by the blogger well known for his sympathies for all things Soviet.

    number 3 [livejournal.com] (rus) is also on the same subject by the relatively well known lady journalist of the similar political views.

    The highest ranking blog among the official politicians [livejournal.com] (#22 in the all-list) belongs to a politician who was in political leadership of Latvia at the time of breakup from the former Soviet Union and spent a lot of time undermining efforts of Latvians to gain independence. Right wing.

    Blogger number 19 [livejournal.com] is a Nazi sympathizer with Russian pseudo-pagan twist.

    The lefties are presented much less among top bloggers.

    I am saying this because among quite diverse opposition to Putin right-wingers opposing Western style democracy and human-rights issues are dominating. If they would come to power, the situation would be even worse than at Putin's time from the Western point of view.

    In the West Putin's seems like an autocrat, anti-democrat, but to THAT opposition he is a Western poodle. The most viable alternative to Putin at the hypothetical condition of free election (free from government manipulation as well as foreign financial and all other kinds of support to the "liberal" opposition) would be not much famed recently chessmaster, but people like Rogozin (Russian equivalent of Le Pen or Heider).

    This might be irrelevant to the topic of censorship, but it is quite relevant to Russians.
  • They helped the Chinese censor their internet. Maybe they could make a bunch of money from Russia. After all, as they said last time: "If we don't do it, someone else will."

    I guess "no evil" has a pretty flexible definition.

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