LiveJournal Fights Coming Censorship, But Don't Tell Anyone

Images remixed by Andrey Tselikov.

Images remixed by Andrey Tselikov.

A bill that will equate popular bloggers with mass media [Global Voices report] has passed Russia's lower house of parliament, the Duma. All that remains now are the rather perfunctory steps of passing the Federation Council, and approval by President Vladimir Putin. It now appears a fait accompli that starting with August 1, 2014 Russian bloggers with over 3,000 daily unique readers will be required to register in the same way an online newspaper does. However, some RuNet giants are already fighting back, proving ahead of time that enforcing such a law will be a logistical nightmare.

Earlier,, Russia's most powerful search engine, stopped ranking blogs [Global Voices report] on its website. Now, on April 23 Dmitry Pilipenko, head of LiveJournal Russia, posted [ru] the following news in his LJ blog:

С сегодняшнего дня в профайлах всех блогеров и сообществ, количество подписчиков которых превышает две с половиной тысячи, будет отображаться не фактическое число пользователей «В друзьях у», а 2 500 +. Фактическое значение остается доступным только для владельцев блогов и владельца и смотрителей сообщества.

Отмечу, что данные изменения касаются только тех пользователей, которые используют Кириллические сервисы LiveJournal.

Рейтинг пользователей и сообществ, формировавшийся по просмотрам, также прекращает свою работу.

Перечисленные выше изменения обусловлены планами по ряду мер для оптимизации работы сервиса. Все совпадения случайны.

Starting today, all blog and community profiles where the number of subscribers [“friends” -ed.] is larger than two and a half thousand, will display 2,500+ instead of the actual number of users who are “Friends of”. The actual number will be available only to owners of blogs or the moderators of communities.

I must add that these changes only affect those users who use the Cyrillic services of LiveJournal.

The rating of users and communities, which was formed based on page-views, will also stop.

The above changes are based on plans to take measures to optimize the service. All coincidences are accidental.

Pilipenko's coy wink at the end of this press release makes it clear that the move is directed at making the coming “3,000” regulations harder to implement. However, it is doubtful if it will do anything to stop Roskomnadzor in the final reckoning — in the end the Kremlin can always flex its subpoena muscles, and gain access to LiveJournal servers from the inside. Perhaps it is the spirit of opposition that counts.


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