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Stories from RuNet Echo from May, 2017

22 May 2017

Russia's State Duma Invites a YouTube Star to Speak

A woman who once submerged herself in a bathtub filled with potato chips for her 5 million YouTube subscribers, Sasha Spilberg addressed the State Duma this Monday.

Russian Crooner Joins Effort to Attract Tourists to War-Torn Eastern Ukraine

Nearly three years into the war in eastern Ukraine, the Donetsk and Luhansk people's republics are making a renewed attempt to attract foreign tourists to their Russian-backed statelets.

17 May 2017

The Russian State Media: Champion of Internet Freedom. (From Now On.)

With millions of Ukrainians now at risk of losing their beloved online services, Russia's state media did what it often does in unexpected geopolitical situations: it suddenly changed sides.

16 May 2017

Ukraine Sanctions VKontakte, Other Russian Social Media Websites

Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko has signed an order instructing the country's Internet providers to block several major Russian social media websites.

12 May 2017

Diversity, Interrupted: Anti-Gay Crusades Mar Ukraine’s Tolerant Facade

As this year’s Eurovision Song Contest enters its final weekend, a half-painted rainbow arch meant to symbolize the event’s slogan, “Celebrate Diversity,” hovers ominously over the center of Kyiv.

11 May 2017

The Russian Journalist Responsible for the Trump-Lavrov Photo Speaks Out

TASS photojournalist Alexandr Scherbak, the man who took Wednesday's controversial pictures in the Oval Office, accuses the U.S. government and media of “hysteria.”

9 May 2017

Russian Pensioners Troll Opposition Leader in Awkward Rap Video

The video was produced by a fringe activist organization in Krasnodar called "Social Justice."

Let Us Spray: Orthodox Graffiti Comes to Russia

The Russian Orthodox Church and street art don’t tend to mix, but a recent collaboration between a provincial street artist and a priest has proven an exception to that rule.

8 May 2017

Oleg Kashin Explains How Russia Reinvented the Political Rumor Mill

RuNet Echo translates an article by Oleg Kashin about the messaging app Telegram, focusing on the rise of “channels” dedicated specifically to spreading anonymous political rumors.

Who's Paying for the Meme War Against Alexey Navalny?

Global Voices Advocacy

The scheme comes in the wake of news about a major mudslingling campaign that the Kremlin was reportedly planning against Navalny.

7 May 2017

WeChat? Not in Russia You Don't.

Last week, Russia’s federal censor blocked WeChat, China’s largest mobile messaging app. According to Russia’s media censor, Roskomnadzor, WeChat failed to register with the federal government.

5 May 2017

Nyetflix and Dill: Putin Signs Law Regulating Foreign Online Streaming Services

Global Voices Advocacy

Netflix and chill is looking more like Nyetflix and dill in Russia after Vladimir Putin signed into law a bill that restricts foreign streaming services' access to the Russian market.

4 May 2017

Don’t Be Alarmed: This ‘Red Button’ Is Meant to Help Russians

By connecting detainees with friends and human rights organizations more quickly than ever, the “Red Button” app hopes to provide protesters with greater protection from illegal arrests and penalties.

3 May 2017

Russian Psychological Center Insults and Then Outs Gay Man Who Called Its Support Line

Be careful when calling the hotline at “FROG,” a psychological help center; you might need more support after the call than you did before you picked up the phone.

1 May 2017

Navalny's Army Unmasks the State-Supported Radicals Out to Get Him

Following last week's startling attack, opposition leader Alexey Navalny is proving how useful it is to have millions of supporters among Russia’s young, energetic Internet users.

Life as a Vod, Russia’s Disappearing Ethnic Group

Rising Voices

Made up of just a few dozen people, the world’s largest community of Vods lives outside St. Petersburg. Victoria Vziatysheva recently spoke to some of the Vods’ last living descendants.

The Kremlin Is Worried Attacks on Opposition Leaders Are Making Them More Popular

Days after Alexei Navalny was again doused with green antiseptic, the news website Gazeta.ru reported that the Kremlin had instructed regional authorities to crack down such attacks in the future.

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