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Stories from RuNet Echo from February, 2016

29 February 2016

Ukraine's Eurovision 2016 Entry Is About Stalin’s Repressions. Russia Isn't Thrilled.

Ukraine’s entry for the Eurovision 2016 music contest is a song about the deportation of the Crimean Tatars by the Stalin regime. So why are Russian officials upset?

27 February 2016

Desperate for Safer Roads, Russians Are Literally Filling Potholes with Money

In the past five weeks, there’s been a new slew of pothole-related scandals. Depending on your attitude about lousy public services and motorways, these stories will either entertain or disconcert.

Anti-Extremism Police in Yakutia, Russia, Say They Have Ways of Finding You on WhatsApp

Global Voices Advocacy

WhatsApp messenger is hugely popular in Yakutia—and the anti-extremist police force are on it.

25 February 2016

Ukrainian Court Equates Social Network Profile With Mainstream Media

Global Voices Advocacy

The social media pages containing "calls to overthrow authorities" were determined by the court to be "mass media" because they were public and accessible to an unlimited number of people.

24 February 2016

Homophobia Mars a Chechen Model’s Dream

Many models dream of scoring a photoshoot for Dolce & Gabbana. 17-year-old Ilona Bisultanova's dream came true last month, but what followed online wasn't entirely beautiful.

23 February 2016

Russians Find the Stories Hidden in Photos of Decay

There's a community on the Russian social network Vkontakte that takes photos of rust, peeling paint, and decay, and reimagines them as “abstract stories.”

22 February 2016

Hard Labor for Woman Who Reposted Online Criticism of Russia's Actions in Ukraine

Global Voices Advocacy

A Russian court found Vologzheninova guilty of "discrediting the political order" and of "inciting enmity" by reposting or liking online material critical of Russia’s actions in Crimea and in Donbas.

20 February 2016

The KRA Factor: The Shaming of Kadyrov’s Online Critics

The Chechen ideologists have invented a highly effective way of influencing their online critics. The method has been tested in Chechnya and is now being used outside of the republic.

19 February 2016

Blogging Is Making a Comeback in Russia, Thanks to the Man Who Helped Kill It

A funny thing is happening in the chaos of today’s Russian Internet use: people are starting to feel overwhelmed on social media.

18 February 2016

This Writer and Activist Wants to Rescue the West's Knowledge of Russia, One Translation at a Time

Translator Thomas Campbell tries to bridge the gap through his blog. Last week, he visited NYU, where he described the experience of running his website and monitoring the Russian blogosphere.

12 February 2016

It's Halftime in Russia

With oil prices tumbling and Russia’s economy on hard times, a carmaker is falling back on one of the industry’s most dependable marketing tactics: appealing to consumers’ sense of patriotism.

11 February 2016

The Next Time You're in Moscow, Don't Bother Trying the Shawarma

Moscow awoke earlier this week to find that the city has a new face. Before dawn on February 9, the mayor's office tore down roughly a hundred small businesses.

Kremlin Censor Finally Brings Down the Hammer on the RuNet’s Pluckiest Freedom Advocates

Global Voices Advocacy

Government censors have blocked the website of Russian digital rights organization RosKomSvoboda for a page with instructions on how to circumvent online censorship and access blocked websites.

9 February 2016

Artists and Activists Unite in Support of Russia’s ‘Good People’

“I wish I could go to the detention center and sing, so the whole thing came down,” Anastasia said, describing her “ elven-princess” wish to free her imprisoned partner.

5 February 2016

Ukrainian Censor's ‘Explicit Content’ Database Is Up for Grabs

Ukraine's now extinct National Expert Commission for Protection of Public Morality accumulated a database of "explicit" content during its tenure—and no one knows what to do with it.

4 February 2016

Why Is a Russian Art Museum Granting Free Admission to Women Wearing 4-Inch Stilettos?

The music video has 32 million views in just three weeks. Even for one of Russia’s most popular rock bands, Leningrad’s new song stands out as an exceptionally popular hit.

3 February 2016

ISPs Take Kremlin to Court Over Online Surveillance

Global Voices Advocacy

“We’ve found a couple of brave providers that are ready to come with us on a crusade against SORM,” announced Leonid Volkov, co-founder of the Society for Defending the Internet.

1 February 2016

Russian Social Network VK Claims to Protect Users From Warrantless Surveillance

Global Voices Advocacy

VKontakte's Ukrainian spokesperson says the social network abhors censorship and only shares user data with secret services when presented with court orders. The website's turbulent history paints a different picture.

Russia and Chile Join the Global Campaign to Save a Saudi Poet From Execution

Poets and activists in Moscow and St Petersburg expressed their solidarity with Ashraf Fayadh, who's been sentenced to death in Saudi Arabia. Similar events were held in Chile and Mexico.

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