Putin’s Internet Crackdown in Russia
Rustem Adagamov says: “The Internet is the last free territory [in Russia] — but it won’t stay that way for long.”
You don’t have to look hard to find examples that prove he’s right.
For instance, Oleg Kozlovsky reports that Russian “law enforcement” officers are openly bragging about intercepting and reading opposition party e-mail communications and using what they learn to carry out preemptive arrests to block demonstrations from ever happening. Meanwhile, Putin has authorized his forces to crack the skulls of anyone who actually does make an appearance at such a function without official police permission.
Masked special forces goons just raided, once again, the offices of Yevgenia Albats‘s publication The New Times, seeking to expose and intimidate the sources of her fearless reporting about the Kremlin’s crackdown on civil society.
It’s become routine for Putin’s thugs to harass Internet providers, sue and jail bloggers, and seek to create gateways through which all online information must pass. On the other hand, the Kremlin actively bribes bloggers and creates official websites full of propaganda and lies.
None of it is surprising, of course. Putin is a coward who fears the printed word in any form just as his Soviet ancestors did. He knows he is a failure, and that if he were exposed he would lose power. A confident, successful ruler does not fear press criticism, he welcomes it as a chance to improve.