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RuNet Echo is a project of Global Voices to expand and deepen understanding of the Russian language Internet (RuNet) and related online communities. Read more »

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Stories from RuNet Echo

19 February 2020

Holy controversy over proposal to mention God in Russia's constitution

The patriarch's proposal to mention God in the preamble of the new constitution has divided Russian commentators. Their debate is less about belief in the Almighty — and more about...

17 February 2020

Groundbreaking film on Russia's HIV epidemic goes viral

Nearly one percent of Russia's population is HIV positive, but the authorities have remained silent about the epidemic. It looks like Yury Dud's latest YouTube documentary has broken that silence.

16 February 2020

Russian pranksters target Bernie Sanders

Notorious Russian pranksters posing as Greta Thunberg and her father claim that they have called up Bernie Sanders to offer an endorsement. Then their conversation went downhill, fast.

15 February 2020

Russians rally against torture after verdict against ‘terrorist cell’

Following a verdict against seven antifascist and anarchist activists, Russia's opposition discovers that whatever their political differences, they could all face the threat of torture.

30 January 2020

‘Volodya, aren’t you tired?': Russia’s youth on Putin’s 20 years in power

An entire generation of Russians can't recall life before Putin. Twenty years after his rise to power, they're now wondering if they'll ever find out what comes after him.

21 January 2020

Is Russia getting its model for digital authoritarianism from China?

Advox

On the surface, China and Russia share much when it comes to digital governance. But their crackdowns on cyberspace also have important differences, says professor Maria Repnikova

26 December 2019

What lies ahead for the RuNet in 2020?

Advox

Interview with Alexander Isavnin, a researcher at the Internet Protection Society, on the Russian government's next steps to regulate and control cyberspace.

23 December 2019

Latest offering from Russian cult novelist Pelevin divides and confuses critics

Viktor Pelevin's latest novel, a tale of 'weapons-grade memes', is creative but widely seen as overambitious.

22 December 2019

New documentary charts the RuNet's unlikely rise — and its fall

Twenty-five years on, Andrey Loshak's documentary series examines the ups and downs of Russia's internet, from its apparently idyllic beginnings to its uncertain future.

21 November 2019

In Russia, individuals can now be branded ‘foreign agents’

The latest amendments expand the definition of "foreign agent" to individuals, at the discretion of the Ministry of Justice, which already maintains online lists of "foreign agent" media outlets and...

12 November 2019

US withdrawal from Syria tests Russian soldiers’ social media use

New footage from Syria shows that despite new information security measures, the Russian military is willing to weaponise its soldiers' social media posts when it is timely to do so.

11 November 2019

Putin announces plan to ‘replace’ Wikipedia

The publishing house behind the Great Russian Encyclopedia has allocated two billion rubles (over $30 million) aimed at developing a “domestic equivalent” to Wikipedia by the end of 2022.

8 November 2019

Chechen leader suggests killing users who ‘insult honour’ online

For several years, human rights defenders have consistently cited Chechnya as one of Russia's most repressive regions, citing widespread torture, disappearances, and a complete intolerance of dissent.

6 November 2019

Behold Russia's new ‘sovereign internet’

Advox

The "sovereign internet" bill is about bringing the "critical infrastructure" of the RuNet under the state's oversight. That could mean a more effective implementation of Moscow's laws regulating expression online.

25 October 2019

Despite ban, Telegram survives in Russia — but for how long?

Advox

Most users still have access, but the authorities aren't giving up on attempts to block the instant messaging and voice app.

14 October 2019

A Crimean Tatar journalist's defiant last words in court

"I am a citizen of Ukraine, a Crimean Tatar, a Muslim. I am a journalist, a father, a husband, and a son. With the grace of God, these will not...

Meet the civic activists documenting abuses in Crimea

Crimean Solidarity members livestream arrests, detentions, and court hearings on the occupied peninsula, and fundraise for detainees' legal fees. That's why Moscow has had enough of them.

10 October 2019

‘I and we': The rallying cry of Russian protests

The Bridge

As the product of no particular political grouping or ideology, Я/Мы has become a relatively neutral rallying cry around which citizens of all political persuasions can unite.

16 September 2019

A professor's self-immolation puts the spotlight on the fragile future of Russia's minority languages

Many people discussing Razin's death seem bewildered that anyone would use minority languages in daily life, let alone die for them—an attitude by no means limited to Russia.

13 September 2019

Siberians appeal to world leaders via YouTube to save them from coal smoke

"This winter, the whole world saw our black snow. We were gasping for air because of coal dust. Why do we have to live in such intolerable conditions?"