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.

Stalin Named World’s ‘Most Remarkable’ Public Figure — Poll

By The Moscow Times Soviet dictator Josef Stalin has been named by Russians as the world’s most outstanding public figure, new data has revealed. Some 1,600 Russians were asked to name ten of world’s greatest personalities as part of a survey by independent pollster the Levada Center. Stalin came in top place, after being named by 38 percent of respondents. He was followed by Russian poet Alexander Pushkin and President

The Daily Vertical: Making Corruption Top-Secret (Transcript)

By Brian Whitmore, RFE/RL The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily reflect the views of RFE/RL. So, don’t look now, but high-level corruption is about to become a state secret in Russia. Last week, the State Duma passed a bill that would classify the personal financial information of all top officials who are guarded by the Federal Protection Service. So if you’re protected by the state’s bodyguards, your

Do you trust the news, or do you trust your news? In the U.S., there’s a huge gap between the two

Plus: A bill to outlaw fake news in the Philippines, and the question of whether real news outlets should cover fake news. By Laura Hazard Owen, for NiemanLab The growing stream of reporting on and data about fake news, misinformation, partisan content, and news literacy is hard to keep up with. This weekly roundup offers the highlights of what you might have missed. “Only Hungary has a bigger gap…” The

The Polish Sejm adopted a law banning communist propaganda

By UAWire The Polish Sejm amended the law banning the propaganda of communism or any other totalitarian system in the names of buildings and other architectural objects. According to the document adopted on June 22, the monuments of the Soviet era, including memorials in honor of the Red Army, will be demolished. 408 deputies voted in favor, 7 voted against, and 15 abstained when voting on the final wording of

Russia’s Big Brother is trying to watch you (but is annoyed you won’t let him)

Russian authorities want to wipe anonymity out of the Internet. But is it possible? By Daria Litvinova and David Kharebov, The Moscow Times The internet has long been a wild horse the Kremlin struggled to tame. Authorities first understood the scale of the problem during the 2011-12 Bolotnaya protests, which were organized and coordinated online. A crackdown of sorts ensued as the authorities attempted to wrest back control. In short succession, they introduced new injunctions, restrictions, and new

Russia briefly bans

By Meduza Several Russian Internet providers briefly blocked access to on Thursday, after the domain appeared on the “out-load” list operated by Roskomnadzor, Russia’s federal censor. By 4:15 p.m. on Thursday, had disappeared from Roskomnadzor’s out-load list. In the roughly three hours that the search engine’s Russian domain spent on the blocklist, several major Internet providers, including Akada and TTK, began cutting off access to the website. Roskomnadzor

Two-Thirds of Russians Believe USSR Would Have Won WWII Without Allied Help

By The Moscow Times Nearly two-thirds of Russians believe that the Soviet Union could have defeated Nazi Germany without the help of its wartime allies, a new survey has revealed. Some 63 percent of Russians said that the Soviet Union would have triumphed without aid from abroad, a new poll by independent pollster the Levada Center found. Twenty-eight percent said that the Soviets needed Allied help to secure victory over

Putin, Depersonalized: What Does Oliver Stone’s Film Reveal About Russia’s Leader?

In “Putin Interview”, the ordinary and casual moments are the most compelling By Mikhail Fishman, for The Moscow Times American filmmaker Oliver Stone has faced intense criticism since the release of his 4-hour “Putin Interviews” earlier this month. Critics have assailed Stone for giving a platform to the Russian president and asking softball questions. But the controversial film, currently being broadcast on Russian state television, has its intriguing moments. The

‘Who Has the Most Selfies?’ Council of Bloggers Meets for First Time in Russian Parliament

By Isaac Webb, for Global Voices Within days of announcing the creation of a “Council of Bloggers” in Russia’s lower house of parliament, State Duma MP Vasily Vlasov had put together an impressive guest list for the first meeting: Vlasov extended invitations to 25 influential writers and videobloggers, including opposition leader Alexei Navalny, Wylsacom (Valentin Petuhov), Sasha Spilburg (Aleksandra Balkovskaya), kamikadze_d (Dmitry Ivanov), and Ilya Varlamov—it was a veritable who’s who

Beyond Fake News: How Trump’s Disruptive Technology Mirrors Russian Political Technology

By Lisa J Walters, for UCL Prof Andrew Wilson, Professor of Ukrainian Studies The investigation into the Trump campaign’s links with Russia has already uncovered many layers and levels. More will no doubt be found; but the search would be assisted by a better understanding of just what has gone on in Russia these last twenty years. Hacking may have generated the most lurid headlines, but is just one of

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