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Friday, October 27, 2006

Much Ado about Zhe-Zhe

Here's La Russophobe's comment in response to Russian blogger Two-Zero's analysis of what he terms an ongoing "Russian blog war" involving the so-called "zhe-zhe" blog forum ("live journal" or ZHivoi ZHornal in Russian) being purchased by a new owner, allegedly dangerous to Russian freedom of expression in the blogosphere.

Two-Zero claims that Russian bloggers will find a way to make their views known because "they are young, ambitious and they are long infected with the blogging virus, that’s all what counts."

La Russophobe responds:

I can't agree with your statement. In fact, I think the things you mention don't really matter at all. Courage and ethics are far more important to the development of a free press in Russia than youth or ambition, and it hardly matters if the bloggers are infected with the desire to write if readers have neither the inclination nor the ability to access the writing. The vast majority of Russians have no access to the Internet.

Even Russian print media lacks standards of responsible journalistic ethics, and courage like that of Anna Politkovskaya is very rare. What has the Russian blogosphere done to respond to the attack on Politkovskaya? What has it done to stand up for bloggers like Rakhmankov and Zelenyak who have been arrested? In fact, what has it done to take any blogging beyond the blogosphere and into the real world?

The vast majority of Russians are far too poor and ignorant to have regular access even to the internet much less to the blogosphere, making Russians bloggers much more like a social club than political force to be reckoned with.

How is it possible that Russian bloggers haven't already developed their own soverign blogosphere and protected it from Kremlin incursion? This failure makes your comment seem just like a pipe dream.

The fact is, the Kremlin can make mass arrests and even build gulags and Russians will not stand up and fight back. The blogosphere is not going to change this, because bloggers won't take the risks necessary to do so. That means that sooner or later the Kremlin will destroy the blogosphere and it will become a footnote in history.

If Russian bloggers were really serious, they'd now be joining forces with bloggers outside Russia, like me, and seeking to move their commentary into more mainstream media sources in English, seeking to rally worldwide opposition against the onset of a Neo-Soviet Union in Russia. Instead, you're clamboring like children about foreign intervention in your blogosphere, exactly what the Kremlin wants you to do.
If you're not familiar with this brouhaha, Global voices explains:
The Russian-language blogosphere (commonly known as ZheZhe) is on fire: some users are shutting down their blogs, others are emigrating to the virtual Trinidad & Tobago - all because LiveJournal.com’s owner Six Apart has decided to team up with the Russian internet company Sup, founded this year by Aleksandr Mamut, a Russian “oligarch,” and Andrew Paulson, an American entrepreneur. This isn’t the first time that ZheZhe (an abbreviation of ZhivoyZhurnal - “LiveJournal” in Russian) is in rebellion: the first “blog war” has been documented by Anna Arutunyan in the July 2005 issue of the Exile.
The 2005 storyreferredt to says that Americans were accused of censoring Russian posts in 2005. How did Americans get this opportunity? Apparently Russians are incapable of creating their own blogosphere on their own servers subject to their own control, either because they are too incompetent to achieve it or because their own government would shut them down for freely expressing their ideas. Yet, these same Russians complain about “censorship” by Americans? The 2005 story actually claims that some of Russia’s “most important journalism” was to be found on this Live Journal forum, yet Russians are complaining about OUTSIDE censorship? This seems completely unhinged. Didn’t it ever occur to them to solve whatever domestic problems keep them from creating their own soveriegn blogosphere? It seems to La Russophobe that here, in microcosm, we have a perfect illustration of all that is wrong with modern Russia. If Russians can’t figure out who their actual friends and actual enemies are, then they are surely doomed

3 comments:

17 ugly raccoons said...

Apparently Russians are incapable of creating their own blogosphere on their own servers subject to their own control

diary.ru, greatestjournal.ru, lj.russia.org, mail.ru and so on...

And you have no idea (as usual) about what's happening. Some 'liberals' trying to impose censorship in russian segment of LJ. Jewish guy, named Nosik, Israeli citizen, (http://dolboeb.livejournal.com - you'll excuse me if I'll not translate name of his blog from Russian) boasted he'll shut down all 'fascist', 'extremist' and so on blogs, boasted he has now such capability. He can do it, look at the history of gazeta.kg (about which you have not a slightest clue too), so some Russian bloggers (mostly un-PC, nationalists and so on) started to take precautions against liberal and pro-Western censorship.

Yet, these same Russians complain about “censorship” by Americans?

The same? Care to prove? Tell me some nicks, I'll check it up and tell you. But truth is not something you are concerned about.

La Russophobe said...

UGLY: I suggest you go so far as to click through the links in a post before you start your babbling. That is what they are there for. If Russia has plenty of its own soveriegn hosts, then it doesn't make the least bit of difference who tries to impose censorship. They can just move to a non-censoring host. The point these people are making is that they don't exist, which creates a crisis if Zhe-Zhe is censored.

17 ugly raccoons said...

then it doesn't make the least bit of difference who tries to impose censorship.

It does. It is not texts are so valuable in Russian LJ, but links and ties maintained. AFAIK, Russian segment of LJ is unique namely by very high density of such links and ties. So, if known bloggers will move away to censored or uncensored different hosts (these hosts have been started much later than LJ, btw), whole club may be collapsed, and it is very difficult to start it all again on some other host.

A pity you cannot understand what's written in the links you provided.