Novosibirsk, Kaliningrad, Yekaterinburg … Who’s next?
Activists online have begun synchronizing protests in different regions of Russia. Apparently it will start on August 17. Novosibirsk, Kaliningrad, Yekaterinburg … Who’s next?
This week, social networks and mass media reported that a Protest March for the Federalization of Siberia would take place in Novosibirsk on August 17, under the slogan “Stop feeding Moscow!” Artur Solomon, a well-known Russian journalist, wrote about the event on his Facebook page.
The Kremlin was thrown into a panic. There is no other way to explain why Roskomnadzor [Federal Supervision Agency for Information Technologies and Communications-Trans.] shut down access to this information so completely. Yesterday online media began receiving messages from internet providers and hosting companies indicating that the Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation had demanded that all internet users throughout the Russian Federation be restricted from accessing pages about the Siberian march and the Siberian republic. Some of the Russian online media also received requests from the Prosecutor General of the Russian Federation to delete this “harmful information”.
Russian prosecutors claim that this information “calls for riots, extremist activities and mass (public) activities that would violate law and order”.
Vadim Ampelonsky, press secretary of Roskomnadzor, informed Kommersant that 14 media outlets had provided information about the Siberian protest march. He did not name the publications that were sanctioned. According to NR Baltija News Agency, Roskomnadzor forced the editors of Slon.ru, Grani, etc. to remove this news.
The restrictions were imposed not only on Russian media alone. The well-known opposition site Khartiya (Charter) 97 in Belarus wrote today that U.S. hosting company Amazon had informed them that Russia’s Roskomnadzor had ordered the “Siberian” article to be deleted. The editorial board of Khartiya 97 stated that “demands to remove the news constitute a flagrant violation of the Constitution of the Republic of Belarus”.
Ukrainian TV channel TSN has also reported on this event.
A similar announcement appeared on many social networks today, this time from the Kaliningrad Region. Set against the background of the Lithuanian flag, the “Kaliningrad People’s Republic” announced a gathering at 15:00 on August 17 under the slogan “Stop feeding Moscow!”
NR Baltija also learned today about a protest march scheduled for August 17 calling for the creation of the “Urals Republic”. The closed anonymous site TOR is hosting a hot debate on the appeal launched for Ural residents to “remember the Rossel period and tell the Kremlin to go to hell!” [Edouard Rossel was Governor of the Urals’ Sverdlovsk Region in 1995; he demanded the region have status equal to that of Russia’s republics-Trans.].
Individuals use TOR to gain access to information blocked by censorship. Journalists use TOR to communicate secretly and safely with informants and dissidents. Edward Snowden used TOR to leak information on PRISM to journalists of The Washington Post and The Guardian.
Darius Sadkovski for NR Baltija
Translated by Christine Chraibi, edited by Elizabeth Martin