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The cyber gulag: How Russia tracks, censors and controls its citizens

55 Comments
By DASHA LITVINOVA

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55 Comments

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I hope Russia can be a respectable country again someday but it might be awhile.

10 ( +20 / -10 )

“Users of any social media platform shouldn’t feel safe,” Gainutdinov said.

The Russian army is hopeless in its invasion of Ukraine. Putin is a fascist. Nobody takes Russia seriously any more.

6 ( +18 / -12 )

The Russian posters here and their supporters post that Russia is a free and open country with freedom of speech. They will be disappointed by this article.

10 ( +20 / -10 )

I wonder what the point of this article is. (It's written by an AP writer based in Estonia and that fact tells me a lot about what to expect.)

I am just an observer, reading some articles and some of the comments from time to time. What's struck me is that a lot of commenters are of the black-n-white mindset when it comes to Russia vs. the West, as in "Russia must always be the bad guy and the West the good guy."

I'd argue that such a narrow view of the world must've come from a background where people are told exactly what to believe and what not. The world is never just black and white, but is instead full of shades in between. Keep your eyes and ears open is all I'd say.

-7 ( +11 / -18 )

Don't do the crime if you can't do the time, don't do it.

-21 ( +4 / -25 )

only Russia? yeah yeah yeah.....

2 ( +11 / -9 )

Freedom has price no matter where you live = obey laws of the land. No law-abiding person should fear public surveillance as it's designed to enhance public safety.

-26 ( +0 / -26 )

Don't do the crime if you can't do the time, don't do it.

These 'crimes' can include talking to friends, being on a street, getting on trains, reading something, writing something, thinking something. But yeah, whadabout America etc.

How many times have you bent over for Putin so far this week?

15 ( +20 / -5 )

So free speech is actually a crime? Looking at the wrong website. Anti-war social comments. Protesting.

Don't do the crime if you can't do the time, don't do it.

Freedom has price no matter where you live = obey laws of the land. No law-abiding person should fear public surveillance as it's designed to enhance public safety.

Really dude.

14 ( +18 / -4 )

These 'crimes' can include talking to friends, being on a street, getting on trains, reading something, writing something, thinking something

You're entitled to your fantasy Russian criminal law, though your persuasive powers could use a 'tweak'.

I'd suggest not visiting Russia under any circumstance, then you'll be safe, simple practical solution, no fantasy!

-15 ( +3 / -18 )

You're entitled to your fantasy Russian criminal law, though your persuasive powers could use a 'tweak'.

It's literally decribed in the article that you are commenting on

I'd suggest not visiting Russia under any circumstance, then you'll be safe, simple practical solution, no fantasy!

I'd suggest moving to Russia since you feel it is so safe. In fact, as a fully paid up Vatnik you may well be.

15 ( +17 / -2 )

fantasy Russian criminal law

Are you well versed in this?

Maybe read half of the books ever written on it?

12 ( +14 / -2 )

What's struck me is that a lot of commenters are of the black-n-white mindset when it comes to Russia vs. the West, as in "Russia must always be the bad guy and the West the good guy."

Or maybe it is you who might be seeing what you want to see. A truly open mind would have ideals against which everyone is measured. In that respect, Russia falls woefully short. Granted, others fall short too - and many of us are well aware of that - but Russia, if globalised would not be a good place to live, especially under a silly, vain, atavistic tyrant for whom everyone else is a minion or sacrificial lump of meat. What are the tyrant's ideals? What are Russia's ideals?

1 ( +9 / -8 )

This crew, this anger, odd but understandable...

My stated focus = clear public safety surveillance provides law abiders, no odd agenda, none at all!

-18 ( +2 / -20 )

Freedom has price no matter where you live 

What is the price of zero freedom? Seems like Russians are finding out.

8 ( +10 / -2 )

Total State control of the media. Orwellian surveylance. No (legal) acess to brand goods even if one has the money. Purvesive corruption in almost every aspect of public life. Severe restrictions imposed on foreign travel. Oh, AND the opportunity to get blown up in Ukraine for a war that most don't understand or care about.

Is it any wonder that everyone with the means and the opportunity is quitting the country?

14 ( +15 / -1 )

I like the way we’ve started to hear the word Russiaphobic, as if people can jump on the bandwagon of other things that use the suffix ‘phobic’. And we’re told by Putin that the west ‘hates’ Russia. I don’t think most people had ever thought that seriously about all things Russian, let alone hate the place. Why would we hate it? Apart from the kind of thing pointed out in this article I guess.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

“It seems like I’m in some kind of a database,” says Maksimova, who was previously arrested twice: in 2019 after taking part in a demonstration in Moscow and in 2020 over her environmental activism.

yes, the "you have been arrested before as an activist and a demonstrator database"

-11 ( +2 / -13 )

yes, the "you have been arrested before as an activist and a demonstrator database"

Even better, "...she's been detained five times in the past year" for the dastardly crimes of demonstrating and getting on a train. Your kind of leaders eh.

Can you see the bottom yet?

11 ( +12 / -1 )

Well, this article certainly seems to be having the desired effects on the supporters of dirty fascist Russia..

10 ( +12 / -2 )

Politically, economically, militarily, the entire country is one bag of feces run by a fascist and his corrupt goons who have taken over the government and all the instruments of power.

McCain had it partially right when he said, "It's a gasoline stand impersonating a country." I would amend that to say "It's a gasoline stand, run by the mafia with nukes pretending to be a country.

The Russians only ever made 3 things that others want to buy: oil, guns and vodka.

The oil can be gotten elsewhere as evidenced by the surprisingly effective cap put in place by Western nations. The West's Achilles Heal, the one thing it couldn't do without, is doing without the Russian variant quite nicely thank you.

The weapons were cheap for a reason. They suck. And now the export markets don't want them, which is just as well because the Russians cant make enough for themselves let alone some 2nd rate dictator.

Vodka is grain alcohol made from potatoes mixed with water. Hardly a secret recipe.

Even the Russians themselves know this because the people who can leave are. The ones left are in a state of despair and alcoholism and I honestly cannot blame them. I would be drunk all the time too if that was my life.

One wonders when, if ever, Russian citizens are going to realize that they can, in fact get rid of the goobers and have a normal country. It wouldn't be quick, easy or painless but it can be done.

11 ( +12 / -1 )

So I got 7 downvotes and 3 upvotes for my earlier post, my very first on here by the way.

I take it that there are at least three commenters that keep their eyes and ears open and refuse to subscribe to the notion that such and such a country (Russia in this thread) is always bad regardless of what they do. My faith in humanity and sanity has been restored :-)

I am just a casual observer on here so won't be posting anymore. Peace out.

-7 ( +5 / -12 )

for the dastardly crimes of demonstrating and getting on a train. 

no she wasnt arrested for just "getting on a train".

Demonstrating and activism, along with their associated acts that people get arrested for.

-13 ( +1 / -14 )

Demonstrating and activism, along with their associated acts that people get arrested for.

Strong evidence of a mature democracy, eh? No wonder you like wannabe dictators. Too bad yours was an incompetent moron.

12 ( +13 / -1 )

It is clear that Russian authorities are clamping down on all those both anti war and those wanting the freedom to speak their mind or re-post information from a non Russian perspective regarding the invasion of Ukraine. If it was not doing so the amount of internal pressure and dissent would grow exponentially, calling for an end of the unprovoked invasion of a nation with many familial ties to the Russian population. Going to war with cousins is hard to justify and harder to stomach.

There is always two sides to any story and often more than two sides to any conflict.

I do not think that a good leader needs to lie to their people, or need to manipulate situations and provide a constant stream of misinformation to control the populace. This is what Putin is doing regarding Ukraine and his personal views of the West, Europe, NATO and America. Jinping Xi does the same manipulation and false information to control Chinese people, who still manage to obtain outside information untainted by the CCP using the worlds strongest control over the Internet in any nation other than perhaps NK.

9 ( +10 / -1 )

no she wasnt arrested for just "getting on a train".

Try reading. I said she was 'detained', not 'arrested'. She was 'detained' 5 times because she was 'arrested' previously for demonstrating 4 years ago.

It's in the article n' everything.

Demonstrating and activism, along with their associated acts that people get arrested for.

What 'associated acts'? This is a very Soviet phrase you've picked up on your downward travels.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

Strong evidence of a mature democracy, eh?

correct. demonstrating and activism are not excuses for breaking the law.

The laws of that country, not your country.

I set someone else's property on fire but its ok cause Im angry about (insert liberal cause).

Nope.

-16 ( +0 / -16 )

Demonstrating and activism, along with their associated acts that people get arrested for.

And do you think it's reasonable for people be arrested for only demonstrating?

12 ( +12 / -0 )

What 'associated acts'? This is a very Soviet phrase you've picked up on your downward travels.

the criminal things that demonstrators and activists think are ok to do just because they are demonstrating or activisming.

-15 ( +0 / -15 )

Sorry, but we have now 2023, so they had 105 years time to learn and understand that it’s a Gulag and surveillance state and luckily also 33 years time since the lifting of the iron curtain to flee from Russia to anywhere else on the globe if it’s really so terrible there. They have to ask themselves why they just don’t see the obvious historical facts or now overestimate chances and hope for any political or system changes.

-6 ( +1 / -7 )

And do you think it's reasonable for people be arrested for only demonstrating?

was this the case and how would you know it was only demonstrating?

-16 ( +0 / -16 )

was this the case and how would you know it was only demonstrating?

What leads you to believe she broke the law? Obviously, you think she did something objectionable, but on what basis do you come to this conclusion?

12 ( +12 / -0 )

Today on "Fascism and Friends"

Strong evidence of a mature democracy, eh?

correct. demonstrating and activism are not excuses for breaking the law.

The laws of that country, not your country.

Because mature democracies don't arrest people for activism and protest. Only thin-skinned egotistical dictators do that.

Fortunately the American variety got thrown out by the electorate in a clear repudiation.

13 ( +13 / -0 )

the criminal things that demonstrators and activists think are ok to do just because they are demonstrating or activisming.

Such as what 'criminal things'? Did she break into the Kremlin and try to hang the VP? Could you at least make up something specific just for clarity? Or you could just keep fumbling around awkwardly some more.

She was detained 5 times within a year due to facial recognition cameras IDing her getting on a train for something that she did 4 years ago.

You've gone so far down that this seems reasonable to you.

14 ( +14 / -0 )

What leads you to believe she broke the law? Obviously, you think she did something objectionable, but on what basis do you come to this conclusion?

the same thing that leads you to think it was only demonstrating. and the fact that she was arrested.

Because mature democracies don't arrest people for activism and protest.

Is Russia a democracy? MUST they be a democracy or did they get to choose their own laws and system of government without your help or advice?

-16 ( +2 / -18 )

EyesWideOpenToday  06:12 pm JST

So I got 7 downvotes and 3 upvotes for my earlier post, my very first on here by the way.

I take it that there are at least three commenters that keep their eyes and ears open and refuse to subscribe to the notion that such and such a country (Russia in this thread) is always bad regardless of what they do. My faith in humanity and sanity has been restored :-)

The Lord have Mercy and bless this man's soul, as actions and values DO matter!

-12 ( +1 / -13 )

the same thing that leads you to think it was only demonstrating. and the fact that she was arrested.

Lol this is the exact same abuse of logic as yesterday. Mate, you claimed she broke the law. What law did she break, and how do you know she broke the law?

Is Russia a democracy?

They claim to be a democracy.

MUST they be a democracy or did they get to choose their own laws and system of government without your help or advice?

What's wrong with being a democracy?

9 ( +10 / -1 )

for something that she did 4 years ago.

yes "the thing she did" was getting arrested twice.

You have no information what she was actually arrested for.

She just doesnt understand how she keeps getting detained when her face pops up on the cameras.

I was just trying to suggest to her- couldnt it be that the was arrested before twice for demonstrating and activism?

pretty obvious to me why it keeps happening, dont see how she cant see to figure it out.

-12 ( +1 / -13 )

When the Soviet Union collapsed I had great hope we would see a very different Russia, part and parcel of Europe. I could have become an important member of the EU with its vast resources and extensive farming land. Sadly, it seems like I was only dreaming.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

yes "the thing she did" was getting arrested twice.

Ah yes, getting arrested (not even charged or convicted) means the state gets to harass you into perpetuity.

You have no information what she was actually arrested for.

Neither do you, but that didn't stop you from leaping to Russian government's defense.

9 ( +9 / -0 )

Why do you think they have such cameras in the first place?

isnt the entire purpose of facial recognition cameras to....identify criminals who have been arrested before by scanning their face?

So yeah 5 times the camera performed its intended purpose, as she is a criminal who was arrested twice.

Oh and you think they DONT have these same exact cameras in your precious Japan for the same exact purpose?

Oh boy.........got some learning to do.

-16 ( +0 / -16 )

isnt the entire purpose of facial recognition cameras to....identify criminals

She isn't a criminal though. The article clearly says she was released each and every time she was detained.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

You have no information what she was actually arrested for.

'Demonstrating'. It's in the article. You do realize that Russia can arrest people for just demonstrating, don't you?

She just doesnt understand how she keeps getting detained when her face pops up on the cameras.

She understands fully. The camera IDs her face at a station, and she gets detained again for a few hours.

You seem to think that this is normal. We are back to the pathetic thing again.

12 ( +12 / -0 )

You do realize that Russia can arrest people for just demonstrating, don't you?

I do, and so does she. Yet she committed the crime anyway.

It doesnt matter than in YOUR country you can maybe demonstrate all you want.

in her country, its a crime and she was arrested so is now a criminal.

thats how it works.

-18 ( +0 / -18 )

for something that she did 4 years ago.

yes "the thing she did" was getting arrested twice.

So what you’re saying is Trump should never travel to his admired Russia now that he’s been arrested??

13 ( +13 / -0 )

Well, there certainly is a lot of Russia bashing here, that’s expected in the current climate of course. Anyway, don’t count your chickens too fast guys, this technology is spreading worldwide and eventually will no doubt come to all first world nations. To trigger the implementation will be an event such as another pandemic, terrorist attack or such like and the majority of the population will fall in line and accept it.

-16 ( +0 / -16 )

in her country, its a crime and she was arrested so is now a criminal.

Lol being arrested doesn't make you a criminal.

13 ( +13 / -0 )

in her country, its a crime and she was arrested so is now a criminal.

Haha! You have entirely missed the entire point of her story.

She was detained for several hours FIVE times in a year when she got on a train despite committing no offense.

Do you think that is a reasonable way for a state to act?

12 ( +12 / -0 )

The Russian posters here and their supporters post that Russia is a free and open country with freedom of speech. They will be disappointed by this article.

Exactly !! Let’s ask Snowden, Julian Assange and who’s the Home guard boy they picked recently ? Apart from the scores of others

@ Eyewideopem

I am just an observer, reading some articles and some of the comments from time to time. What's struck me is that a lot of commenters are of the black-n-white mindset when it comes to Russia vs. the West, as in "Russia must always be the bad guy and the West the good guy."

This is thebGeorge Bush 2 , If you are not with us BS. You can’t have a contrary opinion, just run with the crowd! What happened to reason ? Tolerance ?

-7 ( +4 / -11 )

Well, there certainly is a lot of Russia bashing here, t

Shocking, isn't it, how you'll have lots of criticism of fascist Russia in an article about the government there using the legal system to harass dissidents.

10 ( +10 / -0 )

"Arrested for getting on a train"? This is typical of the western press. Can anyone remember the Iranian executed by hanging a few month ago for "demonstrating" Well he was, except his demonstrating was stabbing to death one two of the local security volunteers. Odd that the western media skipped that little detail.

-12 ( +3 / -15 )

So you just made my point! It hasn’t happened in any other country, just the Russia that you support here daily and which this article is about.

what point? this person was arrested, not fined for COVID lockdown violation.

What is explained in Russia is also happening in JAPAN right now as we speak. and the USA and the UK and any other country that has public facial recognition systems.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Cards Fans

Of course, I never justify Russias actions or Putin. They aren’t a facist state by the way they are totalistic really.

-18 ( +0 / -18 )

Of course, I never justify Russias actions or Putin.

Oh of course not, you just wanted to point out how other countries might have the problem Russia has now someday in the future. Not justifying. Not at all.

They aren’t a facist state by the way they are totalistic really.

Nope. Fascist works!

13 ( +13 / -0 )

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