Following Saturday's scoreless soccer game that catapulted Moscow's CSKA club to its fourth Russian Premier League title, the team's fans clashed with riot troops in downtown Moscow. Police detained 140 people [ru], later releasing all but two. Bloggers posted photos to LiveJournal here, here, and here [ru], alleging police brutality.
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At this very moment, Kirov police are searching [ru] Alexey Navalny's local headquarters, established to coordinate the blogger's public outreach in the city where he currently stands trial for embezzling roughly half a million dollars. The case has attracted international attention as the latest in a long series of politicized Russian judicial proceedings, including the trials of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, three members of Pussy Riot, and others. More »
Dissidents have fled Russia for as long as there has been a Russia from which to flee. Earlier this week, April 7, 2013, activist Ilya Yashin startled many when he announced [ru] on Twitter that protest figure and former World Chess Champion Garry Kasparov had abandoned his leadership position in the oppositionist group “Solidarity,” and likely decided to emigrate. More »
Russian Internet censors at Roskomnadzor have reversed a decision to ban Wikipedia's entry for “cannabis smoking,” following a reexamination of the article after a new round of edits by Wikipedian volunteers. In a statement [ru] on its website today, April 10, 2013, Roskomnadzor announced the unbanning, though at least nine [ru] other Wikipedia articles apparently remain on the RuNet blacklist.
As RuNet Echo previously reported [GV], Alexey Navalny has appealed to his readers to make up their own minds about his innocence or guilt in an upcoming embezzling trial by releasing for download the financial documents of the firms involved. Now, his opponents appear to have taken a page out of his book, creating a website which is a direct copy [ru] of Navalny's original [ru]. Unlike Navalny's “Why is Navalny Not Guilty?”, this one is titled “Why is Navalny Guilty?” and makes available for download allegedly relevant excerpts from Navalny's previously hacked email correspondence [GV]. Since the emails have been publicly available for quite some time, the page is likely created in the spirit of “trolling” rather than any real attempt at an exposé.
On April 1, 2013, the 20 year anniversary of Novaya Gazeta, a Russian newspaper critical of the government and known for its investigative reporting, Head of the Chechen Republic (formerly President) Ramzan Kadyrov took to his Instagram [ru], as he often does these days, to publicly express respect for the publication and its journalists, even thought he “sometimes disagrees with them.” Some bloggers [ru] were flabbergasted [ru] – after all, it is a widely held belief on RuNet that Kadyrov (then Chechen Prime Minister) is at least partially responsible for the assassination of Novaya Gazeta reporter Anna Politkovskaya in 2006.
A photo-blogger based in the city of Voronezh, located in central Russia not far from the Ukranian border, has taken a series of striking photographs [ru] (including an animated panorama) of a small, forgotten “slum” hiding in the center of an otherwise modern and populous urban area. The “slum”, which turns out to be mainly abandoned buildings, looks like a set for a WWII movie — ironic in a city that was rebuilt after heavy destruction during the war.
Alexey Navalny, unofficial protest leader, took to his blog [ru] on March 27 to defend himself from what he says are unfair allegations of corruption. Navalny is currently a suspect in two different embezzlement investigations. One of these, the so-called KirovLes case, involves the supposed use of a shell company to steal several million rubles worth of materials from a Kirov Region lumber mill.
On January 23, 2013, an excerpt from the annual report of l'ACAT-France, A World of Torture 2013, makes a fresh assessment of the state of torture in the world [fr]:
“A report called A World of Torture in 2013, assesses torture practices that continue to be alarming, from Pakistan to Italy, by way of South Africa, Saudi Arabia, Australia and Bolivia. From authoritarian regimes to democratic countries, none are exempt from criticism on the topic. In 2013, torture remains as endemic, omnipresent and multi-faceted as ever”.
Earlier today, the Russian Railways concluded its official investigation into the death of Elena Soboleva, who died on January 18 crossing the tracks at the Saltykovskaia train platform [ru], located just east of Moscow. The Railways (or RZhD, as it's known in Russian) determined [ru] that Ms. Soboleva was responsible for her own death, having elected to cross the tracks despite numerous signs and signals that a speeding train was approaching. More »
On February 1, the Russian human rights group Agora released a report [ru] on RuNet censorship in 2012, titled “Russia As a Global Threat to a Free Internet,” documenting various limitations on Internet usage in Russia, including violence, administrative pressure, and other forms of intimidation and punishment used against netizens by state authorities. Agora has also created [ru] a “map of free Internet violations” for 2012, showing which areas of Russia are least friendly to bloggers and netizen journalists.
Anonymity affords ordinarily timid individuals the courage and opportunity to behave dishonestly. That, anyway, is the story we typically hear, especially in the context of the Internet. As Oleg Kashin recently pointed out in his column [ru] at openspace.ru, however, it takes two to make a successful prank (the prankster and the sucker)—a point on vivid display in a minor RuNet scandal last week. More »
LiveJournal, owned and managed by Russian company SUP Media, just announced [ru] a grant program that will target the development of “interesting, but less well known blogs.” The grant funds could be used by a starting blogger to promote their blog through various paid “promo” services run by the company.
Earlier today, Kommersant newspaper announced that it has fired columnist Oleg Kashin, one of Russia's best known journalists. In comments to Lenta.ru, Kommersant's chief editor, Mikhail Mikhailin, explained [ru] that Kashin's output has slipped in previous months, becoming too little to sustain his employment. Other sources indicate that Kashin's decision to join [ru] the political opposition's Coordinating Council represented a conflict of interest for Kommersant. More »
Ivorian and Russian Bloggers Make Light of the Electoral Fiasco for the Presidency of the French Conservative Party
Ivorians should abstain from bombing the Head Quarters of the UMP (The main Conservative Party) in France and help them move forward with the recount.
Notre Vision in Côte d'Ivoire draws a humourous parallel [fr] between the fiasco during the latest election [fr] to select the new leader of the UMP party in France and the post-electoral crisis in Côte d'Ivoire in 2010-11. La Voix de Russie in Russia cheekily observes that France might need some election observers from China or Russia [fr] to make sure there are no fraud during the next electoral process.
When internet domains are hijacked, the theft is usually facilitated by hackers. A stolen email password, a virus, or compromised server can wreak havoc on the ability of owners to maintain control of a website. However, it now appears that technological savvy is unnecessary for such a hostile takeover. More »
Thanks to a temporary glitch [ru], the Russian federal government briefly banned the entirety of YouTube earlier today. This comes shortly after Google's IP address [ru] also temporarily appeared on the state's Internet blacklist. Russian bloggers were quick [ru] to sound the alarm in both instances, prompting officials to correct the mistakes within hours.
I realized that once you find yourself at [the Moscow airport] Domodedovo, you start feeling like you are [crap]. And you feel so not because you are actually [crap], but because the personnel at the airport treat you this way.
Earlier this week, an online spat between the chief editors of Russian GQ and Russian Tatler magazines came to physical blows on the steps of the famous Bolshoi Theater. First, Tatler's Eduard Dorozhkin insulted GQ's Michael Idov in a Facebook post that had anti-Semitic overtones [ru]. Idov, a Jewish emigre whose parents fled the Soviet Union to escape bigotry against Jews, took such offense that he accosted Dorozhkin by slapping him in the face. More »
Two days ago Alexander Tkachev, governor of the the southern Kradnodarskiy Krai (one of Russia's 87 federal regions), announced a “twitter-conference” [ru], soliciting questions from his followers. Today he spent a few hours answering several dozen of them. The new-media-savvy public relations move met with hundreds of “trolling” questions like “how is your billionaire niece doing?” and “what types of off-shores do you recommend?” Of course, Tkachev did not answer these [ru]. However, he also failed to address some of the more legitimate concerns, for example about the recently flooded city of Krymsk or local corruption. More »
On October 16 two high profile candidates in the opposition's Coordinating Council elections announced they are withdrawing from the campaign. Economist Irina Yasina and writer Liudmila Ulitskaya published a statement [ru] on Yasina's blog, explaining that there are other “younger” and more “active” “young people” involved in the process, and that they are satisfied with having attracted public attention to the election process. Both were members of Ksenia Sobchak's electoral “block.” More »
On September 27th the three imprisoned members of Pussy Riot wrote a letter [ru] which registered their desire to nominate their lawyers for the Nobel Peace Prize. This predictably caused outrage [ru] from pro-government bloggers. One of the lawyers, Mark Feygin, tweeted [ru] that the move was political — a nomination would create a protective “umbrella” over the accused. (A couple of days later one of the young women successfully petitioned [GV] the court to change her defense team.) More »
Interfax new agency reported [ru] today that a fringe group of Russian Orthodox activists (including some priests) has “on a number of occasions” staged public protests against the maker of the iPhone and iPad, Apple Inc., on the grounds that the company's logo (a monochrome “bitten” apple) constitutes an anti-Christian symbol. More »
Earlier today, oppositionist blogger Oleg Kozyrev took issue [ru] with an apparent gag that graced the website of Echo of Moscow. In an article titled “Leader of the Khimki Ecologists and Mayoral Candidate Evgenia Chirikova Complains About Interference In Her Election Campaign,” the accompanying photo [ru] features Chirikova against the background of a large American flag (ostensibly implying that she is an American agent). More »