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The Finnish-Russian Civic Forum strives to promote cooperation between the peoples of Finland and Russia by supporting civic initiatives for democracy, human rights, and freedom of speech.



Venäjä on digiaktivismin koe-eläinpuisto

Vaikeat ajat ovat haasteellisia ja avaavat uusia mahdollisuuksia. Hankalissa oloissa toimivat oppivat kehittämään innovatiivisia ratkaisuja selviytyäkseen myös poliittisessa kansalaistoiminnassa. Mitä repressiivisempi hallinto on sitä mielikuvituksellisempia keinoja järjestelmää vastustavat kansalaisaktivistit joutuvat keksimään saadakseen viestinsä julkisuuteen ja ajakseen poliittisia päämääriään, kirjoittaa politiikan tutkija Jarmo Rinne. Ylhäältä johdetuissa poliittisia kansalaisoikeuksia rajoittavissa oloissa digitaalinen viestintäteknologia ja sosiaalinen media tarjoavat väylän järjestelmää vastustavan protestin purkautumiselle ja vastarinnan mobilisoimiselle.



Blogging Bares Byzantinism


High-ranking state officials should be banned from having their own blogs, said Alexey Chadayev, head of the political department of Russia's ruling United Russia party. The current fab for blogs among state officials cannot lead to anything good, the party's chief ideologue said.

Speaking at the Russian Internet Week 2010 conference in Moscow, Mr Chadayev reminded his listeners of a phrase from Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky's novel, The Brothers Karamazov: "There are three powers, three powers alone: miracle, mystery, and authority."

In Mr Chadayev's words, blogs of state officials "deconstruct" the miracle and mystery of power; in such a situation, it is very easy to lose authority as well, he said. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is known to be an active user of various internet services, even in his official duties.


Russia opening online public services


Medvedev: Russians ready for introduction of online public services

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Thursday many Russians were ready to receive online electronic public services. The Russian government aims to create an electronic public service system, intended to help fight corruption and red tape among regional officials.

“Perhaps [Russia is] less [prepared] than other European states, but we know that tens of millions of our citizens regularly use the Internet. They make a significant part of the population… If they use the Internet, then they are ready to receive such [online] services,” he said.


“Restoring Order to Russian Internet”


Russia’s Ministry of Communications has drafted a new law that would “restore order in the Russian internet.” Under the proposed amendments, foreign websites could also be held accountable. Websites would fall under Russian jurisdiction if they were accessible to users within Russia, if technical equipment used to distribute information was located in Russia, or if the websites inflicted damage inside the territory of the Russian Federation.


FSB to shut down websites at will


Russian prosecutors may get to shut down web sites over extremism charges for an unlimited time if the State Duma passes new legislation drafted by the Federal Security Service (FSB), Vedomosti reports. According to the draft, internet service providers will be obliged to shut down web sites within three days upon receiving a “motivated letter” from prosecutors.

Websites will be able to return online only after a court rules that they did not violate anti-extremism laws. Even if a website wins its case, it may be kept offline for up to a month from the day it was suspended. The FSB legislation is to be a part of a raft of amendments to the 1995 information law that is being prepared by Russia's Communications and Press Ministry.


Putin against Totalitarianism and Despotism

On Friday, Putin warned against the dangers of totalitarianism and despotism:

We should not allow the “Ukraine-ization” of political life in Russia but we should on no account slide in the other direction, towards totalitarianism and despotism.

Putin also called for cautious reform of the Russian political system:

We need to bring in necessary amendments but we need to act extremely carefully. Any effective political system needs a healthy level of conservatism. A political system should not wobble like liquid jelly every time it’s touched.

Putin harshly rejected a call for officials to examine complaints on the Internet about vote rigging in the recent regional elections:

On the Internet, 50 percent is porn material. Why should we refer to the Internet?

Putin was speaking at a major meeting chaired by President Dmitry Medvedev and attended by Russia’s political elite. Putin’s stern comments contrasted with a speech by Medvedev, who called for a shake-up of the country’s political system to promote opposition parties, criticising “non-existent” competition in local government. The more tech-savvy Medvedev is also a keen user of the Internet and has a video blog.


Source AFP.