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Archive for the 'AP Russia' Category

Navalny Trolls Putin

Sunday, August 5th, 2018

Anyone who wants a glimpse of the information wars that could lie in America’s future should have a look, immediately, at Alexei Navalny’s latest video (it’s got English subtitles). The video so annoyed Oleg Deripaska, the video’s oligarch anti-hero, that he has just persuaded Russia’s media regulator to block it. Navalny, Russia’s best known dissident — he tried to run for president but was blocked — so annoys the Kremlin that Muscovites spray-painted his name on their sidewalks after a recent storm, hoping that would persuade municipal authorities to remove the snow. It worked.

Like most of Navalny’s productions, this one is a cross between investigative journalism and a piece of video entertainment, a serious exposé of corruption sprinkled with memes and jokes. But this time the inspiration was unusual. Navalny’s offices are often attacked — by police, by police dressed as “Cossacks,” by “spontaneous” groups of pensioners and, once, by prostitutes (or, in any case, women dressed as prostitutes). They came into his campaign offices, followed by cameramen who just happened to be there, draped themselves over the furniture and then left. This is modern authoritarian propaganda at its purest: The Russian state, at least for the moment, has decided not to arrest Navalny but to mock him, belittle him and undermine him.

This time Navalny flipped the story back at them. Studying the photographs of the women who’d visited their office, his team used facial recognition software to identify one of them as Nastya Rybka, author of “How to Seduce a Billionaire” and purveyor of an Instagram account packed with photographs of Deripaska and his yacht. Close reading of both the book and the pictures, plus a search of shipping and flight manifests, produced another discovery: Rybka and Deripaska had not been alone on that yacht. A senior Russian official, Sergei Prikhodko, a man who has quietly served in multiple Russian presidential administrations since the 1990s, was also on the boat.

It’s now illegal in Russia to share an image of Putin as a gay clown

Monday, July 10th, 2017

hat poster became popular in 2013, after Russia passed a law banning propagandizing to children about “nontraditional sexual relations,” and gay rights protesters were beaten and arrested.

But gay Putin memes have proliferated as Russia has cracked down on both sexual liberties and online speech in recent years.

Russia passed its first “Internet extremism” laws in 2013, according to the Moscow Times — a year after Putin returned to the presidency and began restricting civil rights.

10 critics of Vladimir Putin who died violently or in suspicious ways

Monday, July 10th, 2017

The Washington Post offers this Top 10 Hit List.

In Protests, Kremlin Fears a Young Generation Stirring

Monday, July 10th, 2017

The weekend anticorruption protests that roiled Moscow and nearly 100 Russian towns clearly rattled the Kremlin, unprepared for their size and seeming spontaneity. But perhaps the biggest surprise, even to protest leaders themselves, was the youthfulness of the crowds.

It is far from clear whether their enthusiasm for challenging the authorities, which has suddenly provided adrenaline to Russia’s beaten-down opposition, will be short-lived or points to a new era. Nor is it clear whether the object of the anger — blatant and unabashed corruption — will infect the popularity of Mr. Putin.

Aleksei A. Navalny, the anticorruption campaigner and opposition leader who orchestrated the nationwide protests — and who received a 15-day prison sentence on Monday for resisting arrest — said in court that he was surprised at the turnout on Sunday and that he was determined to keep up the pressure by running in next year’s presidential election.

“People — both in the Kremlin and the 80 percent or so who tell pollsters they support Putin — have all been acting for years on the assumption that the ice is very thick and will never break. What Navalny is trying to do is show that it is not, and will one day crack,” Mr. Greene said. “Once people begin to believe the ice is in fact thin, it doesn’t matter how thick it really is, and everything can change very suddenly.”

Why Many Young Russians See a Hero in Putin

Tuesday, January 10th, 2017

Cool piece in Nat Geo, image and graphic rich, seeks to explain Putin’s appeal to an unlikely demographic.


A Russian Reporter Goes to a Trump Rally — And Feels at Home

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2016

“But I don’t think it’s so much a mistrust of the people who are in the [American] establishment — I think it’s more mistrust of the system of elections, as such. Because in Russia, there’s a syndrome of “learned helplessness.” For decade after decade, our society has seen that its opinions don’t affect anything. Since 1996, for sure. People don’t believe that one can really choose.

[Here in Iowa City], I spent a lot of time with this elderly couple. We’ve done a lot of talking. They went to see a Cruz rally in a neighboring town, and they came back having made a decision to vote for him. And their explanation really shocked me. They said: “We want to vote for him because he’s proposing term limits [in Congress].”

The fact that this was the deciding factor — Cruz’s position on how the political system should be set up in principle — is really a huge difference [from Russia]. It’s very cool — a completely different level of political thinking than what we have.”

My life as a pro-Putin propagandist in Russia’s secret ‘troll factory’

Sunday, January 31st, 2016

As Russia’s “troll factory” is taken to court by Lyudmila Savchuk, the former employee tells how she was ordered to blog about ‘great Putin’ and ‘bad opposition’ to the Kremlin

Putin’s “Nashi” Youth Organization

Thursday, December 17th, 2015

The American Education of Vladimir Putin

Wednesday, August 5th, 2015

“The problem you Americans have in dealing with us is that you think you understand us, but you don’t. You look at the Chinese and you think: ‘They’re not like us.’ You look at us Russians, and you think, ‘They’re like us.’ But you’re wrong. We are not like you.

How the Russian leader The American Education of Vladimir Putin – The Atlantic


Putin’s Lessons from History

Sunday, December 14th, 2014
[Putin] explains that New Russia was created by “the victories of Potemkin and Catherine II […] with its center in Novorossiisk. Therefore [it is called] New Russia. Later, for various reasons, the territories vanished, but the [Russian] people remained there.” 
It has been said that Catherine II could make four mistakes in a three-letter word, and here Putin managed to make a dozen in a single sentence. Kharkiv, the center of the Ukrainian Cossack regiment in the seventeenth century, never belonged to the short-lived “province of New Russia.” Since it was the first capital of the Ukrainian Socialist Soviet Republic, founded in 1919, it could not have been transferred to Ukraine from Russia in the 1920s. “New Russia” could hardly be conquered from Novorossiisk because the town itself was founded only in the 1830s, when Catherine II and Potemkin were long dead, and, like Kharkiv, it was never part of the region once called “New Russia.” The regions listed by Putin did not belong to Ukraine during the “tsarist period” for the simple reason that there was no “Ukraine” either as a state or an administrative unit in the nineteenth century. Finally, the core of the original province of “New Russia” was the Ukrainian Cossack republic of Zaporizhia, which was destroyed by Russian troops in 1775.

“Putin’s historical illiteracy is nothing unusual in today’s world. He, however, believes that he knows history and is able to draw on “the lessons of history.” One history lesson that I am trying to convey to my students is that fantasies should be taken seriously when espoused by the leader of a large state. In the twentieth century the world community made the mistake of neglecting one leader’s fantasies and paid dearly for this political myopia. We should not step on the same rake again, and revanchist lunatics should not be treated as sensible and pragmatic politicians.”

Andriy Zayarnyuk is an associate professor of history at the University of Winnipeg this is his article, Putin’s Lessons from History, 2014.