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WeGov

Prominent Russian Activist Founded a Well-Known Anti-Corruption Website

BY Jessica McKenzie | Thursday, August 8 2013

Aleksei Navalny (Flickr/acidpolly)

Aleksei Navalny, the Russian activist who made U.S. headlines recently because of his high-profile trial and conviction, was, in a surprising turn of events, released after only a day, pending an appeal. The media coverage of Navalny makes him sound like a one man anti-corruption show, but while he may lead, he is far from alone in his quest. Navalny is responsible for RosPil, an anti-corruption website that relies on volunteers to peruse publicly available documents for signs of corruption.

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WeGov

From the Courtroom, Russian Activist Defiantly Tweets to the End

BY Jessica McKenzie | Thursday, July 18 2013

On Thursday a Russian court found opposition leader and Moscow mayoral candidate Aleksei Navalny guilty of embezzling money from a state-controlled timber company. He was sentenced to five years in prison, and the conviction will bar him from running in political races. The ruling singlehandedly eliminates Vladimir Putin's most formidable political foe. While the judge read the full sentence, which took more than three hours, Navalny and the rest of the courtroom live-tweeted the proceedings, even after they were ordered to turn off their phones.

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WeGov

Russian SOPA Passed First Reading

BY Jessica McKenzie | Tuesday, June 18 2013

Wikipedia protested SOPA (Wikipedia)

A first draft of a law nicknamed “Russian SOPA” was approved by the Russian parliament last Friday, June 14. Like the original Stop Online Piracy Act, the bill will establish penalties and procedures for online copyright violations.

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WeGov

New Russian Law Makes Publication of Information on Gay Rights Illegal

BY Jessica McKenzie | Wednesday, June 12 2013

Would this constitute "gay propaganda"? (Wikipedia)

On June 11 the Russian parliament passed a bill against “homosexual propaganda” that effectively outlaws gay rights rallies and bans informational or pro-gay rights material from publication in the media or on the Internet. Violators of the law will risk heavy fines and censorship and, in the case of a media outlet, risk being shut down. It had near unanimous support, passing in a 436-to-0 vote, with only one abstention.

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WeGov

Top Russian Social Network VKontakte Briefly Banned "By Mistake"

BY Jessica McKenzie | Friday, May 24 2013

Screenshot from Russian social network VKontakte sign-in page

The most popular social network in Russia worked its way onto a blacklist this Friday, allegedly “by mistake,” according to the state communications regulator. However, Pavel Durov, the founder of VKontakte, has had run-ins with the authorities in the past for allowing activists to organize protests on the platform. Some interpret this supposedly accidental blocking as a warning shot.

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Russia's OGP Concerns Show That Transparency Matters

BY David Eaves | Wednesday, May 22 2013

Last week, Russian officials announced they have withdrawn their letter of intent to join the Open Government Partnership. The Moscow Times has a statement to the Russian paper Kommersant from a presidential spokesman, saying, "We are not talking about winding up plans to join, but corrections in timing and the scale of participation are possible." So Russia may still be in. Just not soon. And maybe never. Confused? You're not alone. I actually find it fascinating that the Kremlin acts like "openness" and transparency matter. Here's why. Read More

WeGov

Russian Anti-Corruption Activist, Blogger Aleksei Navalny on Trial for Corruption

BY Jessica McKenzie | Monday, April 22 2013

Aleksei Navalny ( MItya Aleshkovskiy)

In four years Aleksei Navalny went from being an unknown adviser to a provincial governor to “the Kremlin’s public enemy No.1” and the center of an embezzlement trial. Through his LiveJournal blog and Twitter account Navalny exposed evidence of corruption in the United Russia party and became not only a popular activist but a prominent political opposition leader as well. If convicted – and Russia has a 99 percent conviction rate – he faces ten years in prison and, as a convict, he would be prevented from running for office. In an op-ed for the New York Times, Bill Keller called it “the most important political trial in Russian in decades.”

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Russian State Regulation - and Censorship - of the Internet Begins in Earnest

BY Julia Wetherell | Monday, April 1 2013

Though around 50 percent of the population remains offline, Russian users make up the largest Internet presence in Europe.  There were 67 Russians people online last April, and projections have that number rising to over 90 million by this year.  Yet as the Russian web has grown, so have attempts to rein it in.  Now Russian leadership under Vladimir Putin has made a first major step towards centralized state control of the Internet, by acting on new legislation that will allow the government to selectively censor online content. 

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In Russia, Independent YouTube Programming Lures Viewers Away from State TV

BY Natalia Antonova | Tuesday, March 19 2013

Screenshot from Russia's independent Dozhd TV

In Russia, state owned television's coverage of high profile cases and events has been losing credibility amongst educated, middle class viewers who see it as anodyne, patronizing or insufficiently critical. A notorious recent case of poor television reporting occurred with the prosecution of feminist collective punk band Pussy Riot. It was impossible to miss the strong difference between state-owned television’s coverage and analysis, versus the reporting offered by independent Russian programming on YouTube. Read More

WeGov

Putin Signs the Order For Russian e-Petition Portal

BY Julia Wetherell | Thursday, March 7 2013

Vladimir Putin (Wikimedia Commons).

Russian citizens will soon have their own e-petition portal, though they may not be able to demand the construction of a Death Star.  President Vladimir Putin signed an order earlier this week to create The Russian Public Initiative, a site will launch in April for e-petitions to the federal government, with regional and local petitions following later in the year.

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