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Pirate Party Russia

The Russian Legacy Ministry turned down the registration of the Pirate Party Russia since the „current legislation defines piracy as an attack on a sea or river craft, which is a criminal offense“. It really sounds like a fools prank but so far it is not. Until now a final decision and/or justification seems to be pending.

The basic demands (=ideology) of the Pirate Party Russia are very similar to its European counterparts. Attention and support is mostly gained among liberal subcultures and in educational institutions.

The following O2TV broadcast is on search of some Pirate Party members in Russia, which apparently have not much in common with pirates of the oceans.

FYI: In 2006 the Russian television channel O2TV was transformed from a music- into a socially-political channel. It has potential to evolve as a key-player among young voters in the upcoming elections. One outstanding characteristic of O2TV is its high involvement of user interaction and user guided program.


Freedom on the net 2011

Internet freedom is becoming an increasingly debated issue not only in Russia. The importance of the net as public news source continues to grow with the general increase in internet availability and usage. The control over informations in the net becomes a major target for governments worldwide. Especially for countries with generally impaired press freedom.

Publicly alleged reasons to legally backup control rank from copyright protection [us], fight against „child-pornography“ [de], preventing public unrest [jp], pornography in general [ch] or fight against drug-crime [ru]. In any case the instruments often allow a significant influence on information accessibility in more or less subtly ways.

The „Freedom of the Net“ report 2011 gives an overview on the various instruments of control as well as detailed reports on many countries worldwide.

freedom of the net 2011 cover

Download the country reports for Russia and Germany or learn more about Methodology, Contributers or key findings on the publishers website.


Voina art group won ministry prize for contemporary art

The russian art group Voina (transl.: War) has won the prize for contemporary art sponsored by the Ministry of Culture. The group became famous for painting a gigantic phallus on the Liteynyy drawbridge in St.Petersburg right next to the local FSB headquarters in summer 2010.

Some group members now face trials for hooliganism and up to 7years jail sentences. Thus the statement to award this price to Voina is somehow remarkable.

The really interesting part is the explanation how the committee reached its decision. A committee member explains it this way:

„Most members of the seven-member jury were initially against awarding the prize to Voina“ but especially as the group had become famous and the video gained wide widespread attention almost instantly “No one wanted to look like a conformist”.

I am also pleased by his further elaborations:

“I have trouble imagining a similar situation in Germany or France or the United States, where they give a state prize to this kind of art,” Yerofeyev said. “In this sense, freedom in Russia has some kind of third dimension.”

I agree, it is actually true that Russia is a secret paradise for people who enjoy living third dimensional freedom! Dadaistic art groups are only one good example! :-)

Phallus on Liteynyy drawbridge next to FSB headquarter in St.Petersburg Russia

Source: NYT article

PS: Here is the crime scene on google maps and here is a good reuters video about voina. And a blog about banned art in russia.

MEMO: I also shall link to a picture of the street of bottles soon!!! :D

Freedom of the Press 2010

„Russia, which serves as a model and patron for a number of neighboring countries, continues to have an extremely challenging media environment, marked by the consistent inability of the pliant judiciary to protect journalists; increased self-censorship by journalists seeking to avoid harassment, closure of their media outlets, and even murder; and the frequent targeting of independent outlets by regulators. Reporters suffer from a high level of personal insecurity, and impunity for past murders and other physical attacks is the norm. The state’s control or influence over almost all media outlets remains a serious concern, particularly as it affects the political landscape and Russians’ ability to make informed electoral choices.“

Quote from the „Freedom of the Press“ annual report 2010. All Country reports, Methodology, Tables and Charts etc are included in the full report (pdf).

Source: Freedomhouse

Volatile situation in Ingushetia

Schematic Map of Ingushetia and Chechnya

The Aljazeera magazine „People & Power“ has produced a report about the volatile situation Ingushetia. Islamic extremists leaking in from Chechnya on the one side and Russian security forces (including FSB) on the other, seem to trigger a spiral of violence that increasingly effects the civil population.

Source: Aljazeera

Putin sings Blueberry Hill

The obligate video of Putin singing Louis Armstrong’s „Blueberry Hill“ on a charity fundraising. The reception took place at an ice stadium in St. Petersburg on Dec 11th 2010. Several international „celebrities“ attended the benefit concert dedicated to „fighting children’s cancer“. Enjoy the music! ;-)

Source: RT

Several reports are saying that neither hospitals nor cancer-patients have ever received a kopek. The organizer of the event was the newly founded „Federation“ run by Vladimir Kiselyov. A spokesperson claimed the intention of the event was never to raise money but just to gain awareness.

After this topic had a lot of repercussions in the russian media, the hospitals suddenly received about 7Mio Euro donated by unknown sources.

Any comments.. ? ;-)

National Bolsheviks in Russia

This is a recent Deutschlandfunk Feature with an inside report about the National Bolsheviks in Russia. Although it is in German it contains long original-soundtracks of interviews with intellectual figures of the NazBol party.

Symbol of the National Bolshevik Party in Russia
Provoking emblem of the National Bolshevik Party

Audio Feature:
Down with Putin!“ or „If I say ‚Stalin‘ I want to provoke!“ – Russian National Bolsheviks Rehearse the Uprising

Putin’s Russland (2008)

A well done documentation about Putin’s political career and the early history of Russia’s political system. German language.

Yeltsin’s rehabilitation on RT

On the anniversary of his 80th birthday Russia Today broadcasted a pseudocritical report of Yeltsin’s political career.

No word about the violent suppression of political opposition in 1993 under Yeltsin’s regime. No word about the corrupt oligarchic system that became a significant pillar of Yeltsin’s political system. Oligarchs like Berezovsky for example, who’s Television station NTV made Yeltsin the new TV-Zar and thus saved him the reelection. The truth is that Yeltsin build the foundation for the oligarchic system which is still in control of major parts of Russia’s economy and media, together with it’s political pendants Putin and Medvedev.

According to RT Yeltsin „is generally credited for bringing democracy to Russia“ – but during the same time the word „democracy“ was discredited into a foolish phrase among the Russian people. No surprise but still cynical: Putin and Medvedev „commended him for making Russian democracy irreversible.“

While there is no critical detail about the Yeltsin area or the problems that have emerged from it, the RT report has even more details about Yeltsin himself. „He really liked family gatherings, birthdays. We usually celebrated with our daughters“ Naina Yeltsina is quoted, while his secretary remembers how „emotionally he could be“ and believes that it just needs „more time“ and „serious analysis of what a titanic figure he was“.

The newly inaugurated Yeltsin memorial-center will certainly help to do so. Besides that RT will probably keep us informed about the mentioned more „serious analysis“ still to come! ;-)

Worldwide Corruption Index

This is a world map representing the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI). The Index is measuring the perceived corruption in questionnaires among politicians, businesses and locals.  
repeat after me - i am free.
The measured value is naturally not the actual corruption, as the perception among those polled depends on other social parameters too. The validity also depends on the number of respondents. Nevertheless it is a valuable parameter for sociological research esp in the field of corruption. (Unfortunately there is no entry in russian wikipedia yet.)  [DE] [EN] [DE->EN]