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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

Prosecutions mount as Russia intensifies fight against COVID-19 ‘fake news’

Russia has made sharing "fake news" a criminal offence. Rights activists fear that charges will be brought against anybody questioning the state's account of the coronavirus pandemic.

Russians launch mass virtual protests using satnav application

People across Russia are logging onto a popular satnav to launch virtual protests. Within hours, the Yandex.Navigator app was showing empty squares and streets of cities in lockdown as "congested"

In Russia's far east, a feminist theatre director comes under attack

Yulia Tsvetkova was building a community in her hometown in Russia's far east — until she was targeted by violent homophobes and a hostile police.

As Russia goes into lockdown, feminists fear an epidemic of domestic violence

Russia is seized by fear of the coronavirus epidemic. But for some Russian women under lockdown, the priority is to survive the epidemic of domestic violence.

No coronavirus cases in Donetsk and Luhansk, say separatist authorities

As usual, much is unclear in eastern Ukraine. Can separatist officials' claims that there are no confirmed cases be believed? Have they really acquired coronavirus testing kits, and from whom?

St Petersburg firm creates online bar for self-isolating Russians

As coronavirus cases in Russia rise, a startup in St Petersburg has launched a "virtual bar" where self-isolating Russians can build new friendships and feel a little less alone.

Putin supports proposals paving the way for his continued rule

After months of speculation about Putin's successor, there is clarity: if passed, new constitutional amendments proposed this week will allow him to stay in office as president until 2036.

Priest wins online anti-prize for Russia's ‘sexist of the year’

A Russian Orthodox priest who stated that women have "weaker minds" has been crowned Sexist of the Year for 2019 — an annual online anti-prize organised by feminist activists.

Could Russia's ‘Sovereign Internet’ go international?

"Russia is not seeking to isolate itself from the world, rather to create a precedent which other states aspiring to sovereignty over their segments of the internet can follow," says...

Pipeline problems for indigenous peoples on Russia's Yamal Peninsula

As gas pipelines creep across Russia's Yamal Peninsula, the lives of local reindeer herders are changing radically. Russia's energy companies say it's for the best — indigenous rights activists are...

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...

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.

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.

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.

New report makes grim predictions for ‘Fortress RuNet’

The most recent annual report by Russian NGOs Agora and Roskomsvoboda draws some troubling conclusions about what lies in store for the RuNet in years to come.

Viral prank video mocks Putin's cult of personality

Russian blogger Bashir Dokhov hung a huge portrait of Putin in the elevator of a Moscow apartment block. He then installed a camera to record the reactions of stunned residents.

‘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.

Is Russia getting its model for digital authoritarianism from China?

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

What lies ahead for the RuNet in 2020?

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

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.

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