Putin’s Final Solution for the Internet
We’ve repeatedly documented that only a tiny sliver of Russian society has full-fledged access to the Internet (just click the “Internet” category in our sidebar to read all the facts). But it appears that if even one person is able to go online and read the truth about neo-Soviet Russia, that’s one too many for dictator Vladimir Putin.
The world learned the horrifying details earlier this week about Putin’s final solution for the Internet. It’s a two-pronged attack on content. First, he directly assaults bloggers and content generators, both with civil and criminal action in court to terrorize them into submission. Then, he chokes off the content providers.
The Moscow Times reports:
New fears of Internet censorship spread in the Russian blogosphere Monday after a wireless Internet provider co-owned by [Kremlin-controlled] Russian Technologies acknowledged blocking access to some web sites. Moscow-based users of the Yota provider have been unable to access web sites such as Garry Kasparov’s Kasparov.ru, Solidarity’s Rusolidarnost.ru and the banned National Bolshevik Party’s Nazbol.ru over the past few weeks, bloggers and the sites’ editors said. Access also was patchy until Sunday to the site of opposition magazine The New Times, its web editor Ilya Barabanov said Monday.
Despite the endless yammering of some idiots about the power of the Internet, in actual fact it’s remarkably easy for a determined dictator to simply turn the lights out. If there are no Internet providers willing to carry anti-Putin content (for all we know, Yota blocks the transmission the post you are reading from Russian eyes), then the Internet is meaningless.
With control this vast, Putin has complete control over the flow of information in Russia, just the same as in Soviet times. The vast majority of Russians get their information from TV, and Putin owns TV lock, stock and barrel. Those who attempt to turn to the Internet are stymied at every turn, and thus Russians remain just as ignorant about their own goverment as they ever were in Soviet times.
To blame Putin for taking these steps is like blaming fox for eating chickens. If you elect a proud KGB man as your leader, this is what will happen. The real outrage is not that a KGB thug would take these steps, but that a nation of supposedly educated and brave patriots would be ready to look the other way while he does so, to return their country to a state of crackdown and repression that characterized the failed regime of the past and caused a national collapse.
When combined with the horrific tales of Sergei Magnitsky regarding his torture in prison, behavior that everyone knows is exactly what happened in the Gulag, these developments are truly terrifying. Magnitsky’s mistreatment was so shocking it was actually strong enough to burst through the neo-Soviet cloak of censorship on mainstream media and even so-called “president” Dima Medvedev was forced to comment about it. Yet, there is no true popular uprising among Russia’s citizens, just as there was none in the times of Stalin.