Stories from RuNet Echo from February, 2013
Last week, blogger and corruption fighter Alexey Navalny was on top of the world, after he published information that led to the eventual resignation of a Duma deputy. The Russian Internet, however, is a fickle mistress. Today, Navalny is himself the victim of bloggers, thanks to the Federal Investigative Committee.
The previous version of OpenSpace.ru was much less political in nature and was presumably shut down for financial reasons. It reopened a month later with a revamped website and a new team at the helm. It also didn't last as long as the old.
Though the Pussy Riot trial is over, the culture war it launched in Russia drags on unabated. Pope Benedict's abdication sparked the latest conflagration, when political analyst Stanislav Belkovsky addressed the Catholic leader's decision, calling it a path the Orthodox Patriarch ought to follow. In response, Parliament members have asked federal investigators to consider a criminal case against Belkovsky.
Duma Ethics Committee Chairman Vladimir Pekhtin resigned today after a week of pressure from bloggers and the media over undeclared Florida property.
The Coordinating Council of the Russian Opposition has been a fascinating eDemocracy experiment, conducted in the shadow of Russia's competitive authoritarian status quo. Yet, a recent decision not to nominate candidates for any elections—local or regional—has intensified doubts about the KSO, making it a target for one of the RuNet's more vicious attack memes.
The tendency of the RuNet to amplify conspiracy theory explanations of any given event cannot be overestimated.
Although the shock wave from the Chelyabinsk meteorite injured hundreds of people, RuNet users have been more eager than ever to crack jokes and spread memes.
From the start it was obvious that the anonymous album was being updated by either Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov himself, his press secretary, or someone equally close.
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...
Without any real interest in the repercussions of Pope Benedict's resignation for the Catholic faith, the RuNet defaulted to its favorite pastime, humor.
Russia's Federal communications monitors have tagged blog-hosting portal lj.rossia.org as illegal, after discovering an account that publishes translations of the American book "The Pedophilia's Guide to Love and Pleasure" by Phillip Greaves.
Amid brazen attempts to censor the RuNet, one group is fighting back. On February 4, the Pirate Party of Russia has announced a new specialized internet hosting service, called the PirateHost, created in retaliation to attacks on Russian internet freedoms.
Vladimir Putin has given another speech in defense of Russian Orthodox values, this time calling on the Church to study the lessons of the twentieth century. "We must avoid a vulgar, primitive understanding of secularism," he told the Bishops' Council, a massive gathering of Orthodox clergy. Putin's comments are hard to divorce from several conservative legislative efforts in the last year.
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...
A Russian federal region is about to embark on an "experimental" project aimed at censoring the internet. A joint effort by the Kostroma regional government and an NGO called the League of Safe Internet, it is similar in spirit to Russia's new internet blacklist.
Earlier this week, Russia's lone liberal governor, Medvedev appointee Nikita Belykh, had his offices searched by federal investigators. The move indicates a new low for fortunes of a "thaw" instigated by Russia's former president, and adds a fourth criminal probe to the legal troubles of anti-corruption netizen and political oppositionist Alexey Navalny.