Context

News in the section ‘Context’ are not fakes. We publish them in order to provide you with a deeper understanding of the techniques and methods used by the Russian government in its information war.

Putin regime is driving out the most qualified cadres, Levada Center’s Gudkov says

Russia faces a massive brain drain because those seeking to leave Russia now in ever greater numbers are the most educated and competent, Lev Gudkov says; and they are leaving precisely because of way in which the Putin regime is treating civil society, the decline in incomes, and growing income inequality. The Levada Center director tells VOA’s Viktor Vladimirov that Russia today is “really observing the fourth wave of outflow

Russian Journalist Sokolov Jailed for Extremism After Calling for Referendum

A Moscow court on Thursday sentenced Russian journalist Alexander Sokolov to three and a half years in jail for extremism, in a case Sokolov described as “Orwellian.” Sokolov, who has been in custody since his arrest in 2015, and three co-defendants were found guilty of advancing the program of a radical left-wing organization called the People’s Will Army after it was banned in 2010, the RBC news agency reports. The

Russian federal censor adds Snapchat to government list of instant messengers without company’s knowledge

By Meduza Correction: Snapchat has clarified that Russia’s Internet censor added Snap Inc. to its list of online messengers without its knowledge. Initial reports that the service registered with the Russian government “are not accurate,” a company spokesperson told Meduza. “It appears that they unilaterally registered us.” As of now, Snapchat does not intend to comply with the regulations placed on registered messengers, the company told Gizmodo. Snap Inc. has

Civil war in Latvia? Not so fast

Pro-Kremlin media plays with the idea of civil war in Latvia By Mārtiņš Kaprāns, for CEPA On 5 July, the pro-Kremlin news portal Vesti.lv published an article by Vladimir Linderman, an outspoken pro-Kremlin Latvian activist, about local Russian-speakers’ insecurities; the article alluded to a possible civil war in the country. Linderman, whom Vesti.lv introduces as a political scientist—although he is not—stated that the Latvian government plans to make Latvian the

Kremlin squeezes Russian internet providers

By Donald N. Jensen, for CEPA In late July, Russian President Vladimir Putin tightened restrictions on internet usage in Russia by signing amendments to an existing law the Kremlin claims are necessary to stop the spread of illegal content online. The new changes give the government authority to block websites that offer internet proxy services (virtual private networks, or VPNs), which Russians frequently use to access blocked content by routing

Philippines: On Facebook’s free version, fake news is even harder to spot

By Mong Palatino, for Global Voices Facebook is an important platform for sharing news and information online. But even the most savvy of internet users can have trouble separating the real from the fake on the platform. New research by Global Voices shows that the “free” mobile version of Facebook, accessible free of charge for users in multiple developing countries, makes it even harder to assess the reliability of news articles

Donbas militants ‘sentence’ blogger to 14 years for “spreading negative information”

By Halya Coynash. for Human Rights in Ukraine A so-called military court in the self-proclaimed ‘Luhansk people’s republic’ [LPR] has sentenced two Ukrainians to huge sentences for what it calls ‘state treason’.  Since the alleged ‘treason’ involved spreading ‘negative information’ on the Internet, it seems likely that one of the two people is Edward Nedelyaev, a prominent Luhansk blogger, seized in November 2016.  The 14- and 12-year sentences come a

Why Trump is wrong about Ukrainian interference in US elections

By Adrian Karatnycky, for Atlantic Council President Donald Trump’s July 25 tweet sent shockwaves through Ukraine, a country that relies on US support to resist an ongoing Russian military attack and occupation of large chunks of its territory. It is understandable why Trump and his media cheerleaders like Sean Hannity might be scrambling to find examples of other countries interfering in the US electoral process. But the nature of what

How to hold Facebook and Google responsible for fake news

By Klára Votavová and Jakub Janda, for Atlantic Council Online platforms have become the world’s most influential editors-in-chief. According to a 2016 Reuters Digital News Report, 51 percent of people access online news through social media, allowing these platforms to curate their news intake through personalized algorithms. These platforms have simultaneously gained significant economic leverage: experts estimate that in 2016, the two most influential online platforms, Google and Facebook, controlled

Russia: Does website closure indicate the Kremlin is feeling economic pinch?

By Casey Michel, for Eurasianet It seems that Russia’s economic troubles may be starting to hinder the Kremlin’s use of electronic media to push its agenda. With little fanfare, the Moscow-backed media outlet Russia Direct ceased operations this past March. Founded in 2013 and funded by the official government newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta, Russia Direct, according to former editor-in-chief Pavel Koshkin, strove for a more balanced, analytical approach than other Russian

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