Stories about Russia from August, 2012
Russia: Moscow's Peculiar Illegal Parking Problem
Russian adventures and misadventures in parking could be a movie plot. But Russia’s parking problems are anything but comedy. It remains to be seen how vigorously the country will deal with illegal parking. If it succeeds, its methods could show what kind of transportation system and cities Russia will have, and even what kind of country it will be.
Russia: “The Sissy Conspiracy”
On his Tumblr blog, Michael Idov, editor-in-chief of GQ Russia, writes that “pop conspirology, a favorite Russian pastime, is a projection of discomfort with slackened gender roles.” He explains: “It’s not just about the ‘Jews’ or the ‘world government’ any more. It’s about weird semiotic clusters organized around degrees of...
Russia: Chainsaws to the Cross
On August 25, unknown parties sawed down three wooden crosses in the city of Chelyabinsk, in the Urals. The same night, another cross came down in Arkhangelsk, in the north. Was it a copycat political statement, or a dire plot by the Kremlin to sow discord?
Russia: Censorship Law Threatens Children's Classics
After news that Russian television will soon be forced to curtail showings of a classic children’s cartoon “Nu, Pogodi!” [wiki] (the Soviet version of Tom & Jerry but with wolf and bunny instead of cat and mouse) because it is too violent for a new law protecting children from the...
Russia: Police Claim Top Blogger Was Hacked from Germany
The Moscow police department has determined [ru] that Aleksei Navalny's email and Twitter accounts were hacked in late June from a German IP address. Fellow liberal blogger Andrey Malgin criticized [ru] the announcement, accusing the authorities of disguising their own responsibility for supposedly stealing [ru] Navalny's passwords in a June 11 search [ru] of...
Russia: Foreign Ministry Looks to Germany to Justify Pussy Riot Verdict
Russia's Foreign Ministry has made a series of comments that further enraging Pussy Riot's supporters. Spokesperson Aleksandr Lukashevich defended the recent verdict and lashed out at the West for ignorance about the band members' pasts and highlighted perceived double standards regarding interferences into religious services and criminal penalties, citing laws in Germany and Austria.
Russia: Protesters Aim for Elected Office
In the lead up to Russia's next large protests planned for mid-September, activists and politicians of the anti-Kremlin opposition are increasingly showing an interest in running for local offices. If successful at the ballot box, could this trend bestow valuable "real world" political experience on Russia's protesters?
Russia's War Games Make Georgia Nervous
This September, Russia is planning to hold 'Caucasus-2012' with forces from the breakaway Georgian provinces of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. With 8,000 troops, as well as heavy machinery, artillery, navy, and air force, this will be Russia’s largest exercise this year. Is this too close for comfort for Georgians?
Russia: Senator Wants 15 Years in Prison for Hackers
In the aftermath of a hacker attack on the court that convicted Pussy Riot's 3 members, Kremlin youth group organizer and Senator Ruslan Gattarov [ru] has proposed [ru] making criminal penalties stricter for those who target government websites. Gattarov suggests equating hacks with illegal physical occupations of government buildings, which carry a...
Russia: Diva Politics Over Pussy Riot
The Pussy Riot trial has caused no small amount of debate among Russia's public figures, including an amusing row between two of the country's best known celebrities.
Russia: State-Owned TV Caught in Anti-Semitism?
Writing on Openspace.Ru, Oleg Kashin discusses [ru] a short-lived but disconcerting report [ru] from state-owned Vesti.Ru about Patriarch Kirill's recent trip to Białystok, Poland, where he visited the Nikolsky Cathedral — home to the relics of Gavriil Belostoksky, the patron saint of children in the Russian Orthodox Church. Vesti.Ru temporarily featured language endorsing the...
Russia: Pussy Riot's Courthouse Is Hacked By Anonymous
On August 21, just days after Moscow's Khamovnicheskii Court sentenced the 3 members of Pussy Riot to 2 years in prison, hackers attacked and vandalized [ru] the court's official website [ru]. Hackivist groups self-identifying as “Anonymous” claimed responsibility and also leaked [ru] some internal (though largely uncontroversial) emails. Popular blogger Anton Nosik condemned [ru] the attack,...
Russia: Government Bans Serbian Film for Underage Sex and Drugs
On August 17, Sam Klebanov announced that Russia's Ministry of Culture has banned the release of a Serbian film called "Clip." Klebanov's company owns the Russian distribution rights to the movie, which was honored with a Hivos Tiger Award at the forty-first International Film Festival Rotterdam in the Netherlands earlier this year.
Russia: Drug Drugu, Wish Fulfillment via Social Networks
Drug Drugu ("To One Another") is a service that works with the wishes of users. Community members can not only request some kind of help, but also offer their own. The resource's operating principle is very simple: a user leaves a message in the appropriate category, assigns it a category, location, and image, and waits for another community member to response.
Russia: Taxi Drivers Versus Dagestanis in Ryazan
A possible fight between Russians and Dagestani migrants perhaps led to dozens, possibly hundreds, of taxi drivers organizing a pogrom-like attack. Events like this raise questions about Russia's capacity to effectively cope with its multiculturalism, especially now, when the situation on the ground in the North Caucasus is so troubling.
Peru's Feminist Activist-Artist: María María Acha-Kutscher
Peruvian feminist, activist and visual artist María María Acha-Kutscher is using the Internet to share her work. From Mexico's Frida Kahlo to Spain's "indignadas" (outraged) and Russia's Pussy Riot, Acha-Kutscher's drawings reflect the life and struggles of female artists and activists from all over the world.
Russia: Pussy Riot and the Orthodox Reformation
Retired priest speaks out for Pussy Riot, breaking with the Patriarch and renouncing his holy orders, but his letter is mostly plagiarized. What does this mean for Russia's religious Reformation?
Russia: Zombies Versus the State in Omsk
Early last Sunday morning in the city of Omsk, a few hundred youths gathered together for a flashmob. Police were on hand to warn everyone that they represented an illegal assembly, and could be charged with breaking the law. Why had roughly 300 people come together? The answer to that question is the "Zombie Parade": the city's first attempted 'walk of the living dead.'
Russia: Pussy Riot's Guilty Verdict
'The judge said one of the reasons for a “real sentence” was to “caution others”. ' - Russian and anglophone Twitter users respond to the guilty verdict and two-year prison sentence handed down to Pussy Riot members.
Bulgaria: The Red Army Supports Pussy Riot
On the day of the verdict in the Pussy Riot trial, Russian embassies worldwide are seeing demonstrations in support of the incriminated punk band members. The Red Army Monument in the capital of Bulgaria, Sofia, has joined in: a picture of it with some of the soldiers wearing Pussy Riot-styled...
Russia: Millions of Taxpayer Rubles Earmarked for Facebook “Likes”
Earlier this week, Aleksei Navalny took aim at a pending state tender for advertising services to aid the state-owned broadcasting company The Voice of Russia. The dispute surrounding VoR and its Facebook marketing strategy reveals much about how Russians understand online popularity, particularly their low faith in the very concept.