Stories about Russia from September, 2012
The criminal investigation targeting Russia's most prominent oppositionist blogger, Alexey Navalny, is heating up. Viacheslav Opalev, the former director of a logging firm in Kirov, has confessed [ru] to participating in the embezzlement of 16 million rubles (over half a million U.S. dollars), and named Navalny as the scheme's mastermind.
The just-announced slogan of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics (“Hot. Cool. Yours.”) has spurred a brief episode of merrymaking on the RuNet. At first that may seem surprising, while the English version of the slogan may sound slightly confusing and a bit corny, it isn't particularly rich fodder for jokes or double entendres.
Earlier this week, the media got a sneak peek at a new report on the foreign penetration of the RuNet and the potential manipulation of the country's future elections. The Internet's growing popularity is transforming it into a political weapon: a weapon that is increasingly guarded by American, albeit private, media firms.
On September 27th Yekaterinburg-based internet news portal URA.ru was raided by city police, reports [ru] Evgeny Roizman, local anti-drug campaigner. Roizman is dating the editor-in-chief of the portal, Aksana Panova, who has apparently managed to leave the country before masked operatives arrived at her apartment and scared her mother and young son [ru]....
Dagestan is among Russia’s most impoverished and ethnically diverse republics. Recent tension between Sunni Sufi and Salafi communities suggest more conflict may not be far to come.
Now, nine people who self-identify as writers are running in the elections for the so-called "Coordinating Council of the Russian Opposition," and a tenth strongly considered registering as a candidate before ultimately dropping out. Bearing in mind that writing is not the most popular of professions, this is a hefty proportion of the total.
As the din of the Pussy Riot trial fades, some human rights activists in Russia are seeking to shift the public's focus to protesters arrested in connection with violence against police at a mass demonstration in early May. Twenty-three of Russia's most noteworthy intellectuals and activists have signed an online...
Anyone following the Russian protest movement cannot help but notice the degree to which many Russian journalists are involved with the opposition. In the age of Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, such interpersonal relationships are clearly visible to outside observers. But what does this overlap say about Russia's journalist culture?
The 2012 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Vladivostok has come and gone. What remains is discussion of what APEC means to Russia’s Far East and the country as a whole. Bloggers' biggest issue, however, was President Putin's promise to send some APEC volunteers on a cruise to Japan, who went, and who did not.
Earlier today, blogger Maksim Kononenko highlighted [ru] the Coordinating Council candidacy of convicted terrorist and neonazi Nikolai Korolev, who was sentenced to life in prison for the murder of 15 people in 2006.
For roughy seven hours earlier today, Rostelecom's customers in Omsk were unable to access YouTube. The short-lived ban prompted a flurry of panicked online activity, including urgent tweets [ru] from the city's most vocal netizen, Viktor Korb. The short-lived ban was apparently in response [ru] to YouTube hosting clips from the film “Innocence...
A SocialCamp Russia 'unconference' took place in Moscow from 7th to 9th of September. Over the course of three days social activists spoke about projects aimed at raising awareness, improving mutual understanding, promoting philanthropy, and much more.
Earlier today, the Central Elections Committee officially registered a bevy of candidates for the coming elections of the first Coordinating Council of the Russian Opposition. Among today's new entries to the General Civil category was socialite and opposition activist Ksenia Sobchak.
One of the more striking things about Vladimir Putin, aside from his affinity for displays of machismo, is the degree of nuanced multidimensional-chess-like strategic planning attributed to him and his team by both opponents and supporters.
On October 20, the new "Central Elections Committee" will hold elections to select 45 individuals to form the first "Coordinating Council of the Russian Opposition." When this process is complete, the protest movement will have a representative body for the first time, providing a powerful institution that at last formalizes opposition leaders' legitimacy in Russian politics.
Maksim Martsinkevich, who goes by the nickname Tesak (Machete), gained notoriety on the RuNet between 2005 and 2007. A white-supremacist who later spent several years in prison for inciting ethnic and religious hatred, Tesak has returned to public life and is now trying to gain access to the protest movement's internal elections.
Responding to the attack on U.S. embassies across the Muslim world (specifically the murder of Ambassador Christopher Stevens in Libya), Russian bloggers have addressed the perceived growth of religiosity in their own country, and used the incident as an opportunity to discuss the wider consequences of political unrest.
Balkan Buro, a Dutch non-profit “dedicated to providing a platform for artistic and cultural encounters between Western and Southeastern Europe,” announces the Balkan Snapshots Festival 2012, which will take place in Amsterdam on Sept. 21-23: “three nights of music, creativity, movies and inspiring debates!”
Since the beginning of the year, Tajik singer Tolibjon Kurbonkhonov has recorded three songs that extol the virtues of Russian president Vladimir Putin. The songs have become hits on YouTube and made the singer famous in Russia. Back in Tajikistan, however, the songs anger Kurbonkhonov's compatriots who accuse him of "sycophancy" and "disgracing the country".
Former presidential staff member Konstantin Kostin [ru] and pro-Kremlin blogger Stanislav Apetian (online moniker: PoliTrash) have released new details about an upcoming initiative from their think tank [ru], the Civil Society Development Foundation. In an interview [ru] with Izvestia newspaper, Apetian says the group is deploying technology developed by the American firm Crimson...
It's no surprise that a result of Russians' widespread interest in poetry is that there are plenty of online communities dedicated to its production and consumption. Stihi.ru, with a user base of almost half a million people, is the largest by far.