Foreign Policy Blogs

Clean Your Computer or Vlad Putin Will Take It

A bear with its natural prey.

A bear catches its natural prey.

Russia does not do the overt Internet censorship that China does. That’s good.

They still do plenty of stuff to interfere with the Freedom to Connect. That’s bad.

The heroic Russian paper Novaya Gazeta* was just subjected to a massive DDOS that knocked their main web site off the air. Here’s their Livejournal parallel site for you Russian-speakers.

(There’s another lesson for you all: keep grandma’s machine patched so she doesn’t become an instrument of tyrannical control.)

Meanwhile, in another example of the soft thuggery of modern-day authoritarians, a cop-turned whistleblower who used YouTube to tell the world about endemic corruption in the Russian constabulary was just arrested and accused of fraud. Considering the laughable Russian conviction rate, he’s toast.

Things like this send a message, and most of us are not heroes.

* Seriously, those guys are amazing. I’ve met one of their reporters, and am awed by their ability to carry on despite the murder of several of their colleagues.