Putin plays cat and mouse with Russian online critics




 
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September 4th, 2014  
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Topic: Putin plays cat and mouse with Russian online critics


By Alissa de Carbonnel MOSCOW (Reuters) - Before the Internet, Anton Nossik remembers painstakingly copying out Soviet dissident Joseph Brodsky's forbidden writings on a clattering typewriter for samizdat publications. On his popular blog, the online media entrepreneur now instructs readers on ways to use new technology to get around online censorship, warning them: "There's not much time left." With an estimated 75 million people online in Russia, up from just 2 million when Vladimir Putin came to power in 1999, the reach of the Internet dwarfs that of the clandestine texts shared, at high risk, among intellectuals during the Cold War. Where elderly Communist librarians once stood guard over copy machines, activists say a slew of regulations this year aim to police the web at one step removed, enabling authorities to target leading dissenting voices, lean on social networks and telecoms companies and encourage self-censorship. As Western sanctions multiply over Russia's role in splitting Ukraine, so do rules and restrictions over Europe's fastest growing Internet market, hampering a promising sector in the stuttering economy and forcing young entrepreneurs abroad.




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