"Digital Kremlin": Power and the Internet in Russia

Discussion in 'Europe' started by Casper, May 27, 2011.

  1. Casper

    Casper Member

    Sep 6, 2010
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    One of the characteristics of the presidency of Dmitry Medvedev is the growing tendency for Russian citizens to air their grievances on the Internet. From policemen disillusioned by corruption to motorists angry at officialsÂ’ conduct on the road many people have uploaded videos to websites and sent messages to the President. At the same time, Medvedev has made himself the standard-bearer for new technologies, regularly posting videos on his blog, using Twitter and campaigning for a greater democratic use of the digital media. The growing political potential of the blogosphere has led the government to adapt to the new digital reality. While the government is tightening its control over traditional media - particularly television - the web seems at first glance to be an intermediate space and relatively open.

    While the web has given rise to a real "web culture" in Russia distinct from other authoritarian or semi-authoritarian regimes, the Russian authoritiesÂ’ substantial investment in the web is coupled with the active encouragement of the use of digital technology by a part of the elite. This is not only a matter of making the Internet more accessible to the public but also of prioritizing a particular segment of the web with the aim of creating a "sovereign web." The emerging model of Russian control over the web recognizes the difficulty of implementing direct control over information flows, as is the practice in China, for reasons of image and economic profitability. Instead it aims at recreating the state on the web and encouraging Internet users to remain within this framework.

    Full version of the article was published on www.valdaiclub.com

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