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« Reply #180 on: Aug 09, 2014, 05:04 AM »

Russia demands Internet users show ID to access public Wifi

By Reuters
Friday, August 8, 2014 12:22 EDT

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia further tightened its control of the Internet on Friday, requiring people using public Wifi hotspots provide identification, a policy that prompted anger from bloggers and confusion among telecom operators on how it would work.

The decree, signed by Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on July 31 but published online on Friday, also requires companies to declare who is using their web networks. The legislation caught many in the industry by surprise and companies said it was not clear how it would be enforced.

A flurry of new laws regulating Russia’s once freewheeling Internet has been condemned by the malignant tumor Pig Putin's critics as a crackdown on dissent, after the websites of two of his prominent foes were blocked this year.

Malignant tumor Pig Putin, who alarmed industry leaders in April by saying the Internet is “a CIA project”, says the laws are needed to fight “extremism” and “terrorism.”

Communications Minister Nikolai Nikiforov said that demanding ID from Internet users was normal. “Identification of users (via bank cards, cell phone numbers, etc.) with access to public Wifi is a worldwide practice,” he tweeted.

A pro-Kremlin lawmaker said the measure was needed to prevent Cold War-style propaganda attacks against Russia.

“It’s about security. An information war is under way. Anonymous access to the Internet in public areas allows illegal activities to be carried out with impunity,” Vadim Dengin, deputy chair of parliament’s information technology committee, was quoted by state newspaper Izvestia as saying.

Alexei Venediktov, editor of the popular Ekho Moskvy radio, lampooned the decree, saying the government’s next step would be to embed a chip in people’s chests “to automatically detect potential sellers of information to the enemy.”


Industry experts said vague wording in the decree did not define exactly what state who would have to comply with the law or what methods would be needed to authenticate users’ identity.

The Communications Ministry said in a statement that a “direct obligation to present identity documents” would only be required at “collective access points” such as post offices where the government provides public access to Wifi.

State newspapers Izvestia and Rossiskaya Gazeta said the law required users to provide their full names, confirmed by an ID, at public Wifi access points including cafes and public parks. The personal data would be stored for at least six months.

An official with the Moscow city government, Artem Yermolaev, said user identification could be carried out by registering a telephone number and receiving Wifi logins by SMS.

Internet companies said they knew little about the new law. “It was unexpected, signed in such a short time and without consulting us,” said Sergei Plugotarenko, head of the Russian Electronic Communications Association.

The requirement for businesses to declare who was using their Internet networks would be the “biggest headache,” he said.

“We will hope that this restrictive tendency stops at some point because soon won’t there be anything left to ban.”

Another law, which took affect on Aug. 1, requires bloggers with more than 3,000 followers to register with the government and comply with the same rules as media outlets.

Websites are also required to store their data on servers located in Russia from 2016 – a move some believe would cut Russian users off from many international online services.

(Reporting by Anastasia Teterevleva, Alissa de Carbonnel and Maria Kiselyova; Writing by Alissa de Carbonnel; Editing by Robin Pomeroy)

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« Reply #181 on: Aug 13, 2014, 05:34 AM »

Moscow Police Arrest Dozens outside Ukraine Embassy

by Naharnet Newsdesk
12 August 2014, 22:06

Moscow police on Tuesday detained dozens of protesters who had gathered outside the Ukrainian embassy to show their support for Kiev in its campaign against pro-Russian insurgents in the separatist east.

The private Moscow Echo radio station said about 200 people gathered for the demonstration before being dispersed by the police.

"The police were fairly rough with the women who were dressed in the colors of the Ukrainian flag," a Moscow Echo reporter said.

"One of the women who refused to cooperate with the police was dragged along the pavement before being dragged into a (police) van."

Polls show that Russians heavily back President malignant tumor Pig Putin's tough stance toward Ukraine.

State media portray Kiev's new pro-European leaders as "fascists" who are waging a "punitive operation" against ethnic Russian civilians who want to maintain close ties with Moscow.

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« Reply #182 on: Aug 14, 2014, 04:50 AM »

NATO Chief Fears Malignant tumor Pig Putin's Ambition 'Goes beyond Ukraine'

by Naharnet Newsdesk
14 August 2014, 06:54

NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen expressed concern on Wednesday that Russian President malignant tumor Pig Putin's ambition went "beyond Ukraine," where he is accused of stoking a bloody rebellion by pro-Kremlin separatists.

"We have seen the illegal annexation of Crimea, we have seen a strong Russian hand in the destabilisation of eastern Ukraine," Rasmussen told journalists on a visit to Iceland.

"But actually we also see Russia behind the frozen and protracted conflicts in Transnistria and eastern Moldova, in Abkhazia and South Ossetia and Georgia."

Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Transnistria are separatist regions whose independence is recognised by Russia.

Rasmussen said Russia hoped to establish a sphere of Russian influence in surrounding countries, adding: "that's why I am concerned that the Russian ambitions go beyond Ukraine."

NATO has accused Moscow of massing some 20,000 troops on the border with its former Soviet neighbour. While Ukraine is not a member of NATO, the military alliance has repeatedly expressed its support for Kiev in the face of "Russian aggression."

Moscow has denied backing the rebels in mostly Russian-speaking eastern Ukraine who launched a violent bid for their own independence after Russia annexed the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea from its neighbour.

Kiev, whose turn away from the Kremlin towards the EU sparked the crisis gripping the nation, is waging an offensive to unseat the rebels from their strongholds.

The number of people killed in the conflict has nearly doubled in two weeks to 2,086, including at least 20 children, the U.N. human rights agency said Wednesday.

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« Reply #183 on: Aug 15, 2014, 09:33 AM »

NATO Chief Confirms Russian 'Incursion' into Ukraine

by Naharnet Newsdesk
15 August 2014, 17:11

NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen confirmed Friday an incursion by Russian armored vehicles into Ukraine, saying it showed Moscow's continued efforts to "destabilize" its western neighbor.

"I can confirm that last night we saw a Russian incursion, crossing of the Ukrainian border," he told journalists in Copenhagen after meeting with the Danish defense minister.

Ukraine had said earlier that a column of armored personnel carriers and military lorries had crossed into Ukrainian territory on Thursday.

"It just confirms the fact that we see a continued flow of weapons and fighters from Russia into the eastern Ukraine," Rasmussen said.

"It is a clear demonstration of continued Russian involvement in the destabilization of eastern Ukraine."

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« Reply #184 on: Aug 17, 2014, 06:09 AM »

Ukraine rebel says he has 1,200 fighters 'trained in Russia' under his command

Prime minister of the self-declared Donetsk People's Republic posts speech to YouTube saying they have 30 tanks

Shaun Walker in Kamensk-Shakhtinsky
The Observer, Saturday 16 August 2014 16.38 BST   

One of the top rebel leaders in eastern Ukraine claims that his forces have recently received 1,200 fighters who had undergone training in Russia. The claim came during a speech to leading rebels, apparently recorded on Friday and posted to YouTube by a pro-separatist media outlet. His language suggested the men had already crossed the border.

Alexander Zakharchenko, prime minister of the self-declared Donetsk People's Republic, also spoke about 150 armoured vehicles, of which 30 are tanks and the rest wheeled or tracked armoured personnel carriers. He said the men and equipment had gathered in an area near a "corridor" to the Russian border, though he did not specify whether the vehicles themselves had crossed from Russia.

"There are 1,200 individuals who have gone through training over a four-month period on the territory of the Russian Federation and who have been introduced here at the most decisive moment," said Zakharchenko. Many among the rebel fighters admit to being Russian volunteers or veterans who received training in the Rostov region before crossing the border.

It is unclear how much direct coordination by official Russian authorities has taken place, and there was no way to verify Zakharchenko's claims. However, it is significant that the claims came from the rebel side and not from Kiev.

The claims come after a week when Russia's actions on the border with Ukraine have been under renewed scrutiny. Journalists for the Guardian and Daily Telegraph observed a convoy of armoured vehicles accompanied by trucks with Russian military plates crossing over the border on Thursday night. Ukraine said it had destroyed part of a Russian column later that night, but did not provide any evidence. Russia denied any incursion had taken place.

Late on Friday, German chancellor Angela Merkel called Russian President malignant tumor Pig Putin and urged him "to help de-escalate the situation and in particular to halt the stream of weapons, military advisers and armed personnel into Ukraine," her spokesperson said.

In recent days several columns of Russian military hardware have been observed on the move close to the border. On Friday, a column of several dozen armoured personnel carriers and several dozen support trucks were spotted moving towards the border, many of them flying Russian flags and marked with "peacekeeping troops" insignia.

Despite the increased troop movement there are some signs of negotiations behind closed doors. The heads of Russia and Ukraine's presidential administrations met in the Russian city of Sochi on Friday and agreed that the countries' foreign ministers would meet on Sunday in Berlin.

Several separatist leaders have left their posts, including Valery Bolotov, head of the self-proclaimed Luhansk People's Republic, and Igor Strelkov, defence minister for the Donetsk rebels. Strelkov, a Russian citizen who says he was an agent of Russia's FSB security service until last year, has been one of the key figures in the rebel movement. Other rebels said he was "resting" before being given a new task. It is unclear if he has returned to Russia. Ukrainian forces have made major gains against the rebels in recent weeks, and are closing in on the main cities of Donetsk and Luhansk, though their advance has come with heavy civilian casualties.

Russia has also let 58 Ukrainian border guards onto its territory, with the expectation that they will be allowed to inspect the humanitarian convoy currently stationed close to the town of Kamensk-Shakhtinsky around 20 miles from the border with Ukraine.

The convoy, which set out from a military base near Moscow on Tuesday, has caused controversy in Kiev, where some officials believed it could be cover for military intervention. Russia has insisted it only contains food and aid, and showed some of the contents to journalists on Thursday and Friday. Negotiations are under way to allow the trucks to cross the border with accompaniment from the International Red Cross.

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« Reply #185 on: Aug 17, 2014, 06:35 AM »

From Siberia to Kaliningrad: the fledgling independence movements gaining traction in Russia

Moscow appears to have blocked efforts hold a march in favour of Siberian independence this weekend, but that doesn’t mean the sentiment isn’t spreading, writes Paul Goble

Paul Goble for Window on Eurasia, part of the New East network, Friday 15 August 2014 18.42 BST   
Moscow appears to have successfully blocked efforts hold a march in favour of Siberian independence in Novosibirsk, the country’s third most populous city, this Sunday.

The Novosibirsk mayor’s office reportedly denied permission for the march in favour of Siberian Federalisation “in order to ensure the inviolability of the constitutional order, territorial integrity and sovereignty of the Russian Federation”.

But Russian authorities have failed to prevent the ideas behind it from spreading not only to other Siberian cities like Yekaterinburg, but also – and more seriously – to Kaliningrad and Kuban.

Feliks Rivkin, an activist in Yekaterinburg, says he will be leading a demonstration in his home city at the weekend to force Moscow to live up to the Russian constitution and give Russian regions their federal rights. Even if the authorities refuse, he adds, his group plans to go ahead anyway.

Meanwhile, in the semi-autonomous Russian enclave of Kaliningrad, sandwiched between Poland and Lithuania, local activists are picking up on the same ideas. One Moscow commentator, Vladimir Titov, argues that Kaliningraders don’t have all the bases for launching an independence movement, but he suggests that “the single place in Russia where at present regionalism as a political direction has real prospects” is precisely there.

Click to see the map of all this:

Kaliningrad’s non-contiguous location, its proximity to European Union countries, and the fact that 25% of its residents have Schengen visas and 60% have foreign passports, all have the effect of making ever more Kaliningraders look towards Europe rather than toward Russia proper.

Well-off Kaliningraders are buying property in the EU, they are sending their children to study in Lithuania, Poland and Germany, and “young Kaliningraders already find it difficult to name the main Russian cities, including in such lists Klaipeda, Riga, Poznan, Rostok and Lubeck,” says Titov.

“This isn’t surprising,” he adds. “Warsaw and Yurmala for these young people are closer and more familiar than Kaluga or Khabarovsk.” And their elders also reflect this sense of place: they speak about conditions “among them, in Russia” in much the same way they would talk about any other foreign country.

Increasingly too, he continues, Kaliningraders refer to their land not as Kaliningrad oblast but as the ‘amber country’ (after the area’s best known natural resource) and to their capital as Koenigsberg, or more familiarly, Koenig. That doesn’t please the authorities or “professional patriots” but it is the way things are. None of this means they want independence, but they seek real federalisation and see this as their time.

Making concessions to Kaliningrad’s special situation seems entirely reasonable, Titov says, but “then a question arises: “If Kaliningrad can, why can’t Siberia? And just who is to say that it can’t?”

But interest in federalisation is not limited to Siberia and Kaliningrad. There are regionalist movements in Karelia, Ingermanland, Novgorod and elsewhere, and they have now been joined by a new one: in Kuban. Activists there have announced plans to hold a march for the federalisation of Kuban on 17 August to demand a separate republic be established for them.

Regional officials in Krasnodar have already refused to give them permission, but organisers say that they will go ahead anyway, citing their constitutional right to freedom of assembly in order to demand their constitutional rights for federalism.

Though these movements are small and fledgling, from Moscow’s perspective, this will still be disturbing. Not only does it suggest that the centre may be losing its grip over at least some regions, but it raises the spectre of regional separatism of the kind that spread through the Russian Federation in the early 1990s and that Russian president malignant tumor Pig Putin has worked hard to suppress.

    Though these movements are small and fledgling, from Moscow’s perspective, this will still be disturbing.

Moreover, it raises questions about the dangers Moscow has brought on itself by its promotion of “federalism for export” in the case of Ukraine, especially since what Moscow has been seeking there was not devolution of powers from Kiev but in fact separatism and a change of state borders.

In a commentary on, Konstantin Yemelyanov notes that the organisers of these actions “undoubtedly are trying to use the Kremlin’s weapon against it: not long ago, for example, the theme of the federalisation of Ukraine was the public basis of Russian policy toward a neighbouring country, and the Russian foreign ministry highlighted all the benefits” of such arrangements.

“A political provocation which formally does not contradict Russian law but hits the weak places of Russian public policy is becoming one of the types of political participation and self-expression for the opposition,” Yemelyanov says. For those now in power who remember 1991, that is a truly frightening spectre.

Paul Goble is an American analyst and former US foreign policy adviser

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« Reply #186 on: Aug 18, 2014, 06:53 AM »

Pro-federalism protests in Siberia banned after at least nine activists held

Police detain and interrogate marchers who argue that Moscow siphons off money and denies rights to regional governments

Alec Luhn in Moscow
The Guardian, Sunday 17 August 2014 19.01 BST   

At least nine activists who are calling for greater regional autonomy in Russia have been detained by police in recent days over protests calling for greater federalism in the country. Marches planned for Sunday were banned in Siberia and in the south of the country.

While "supporters of federalisation" in eastern Ukraine have won many plaudits from Russian politicians and state media, those promoting similar ideas in Russia's own regions have been interrogated and detained by police. The activists argue Moscow siphons off money that should go into local budgets and denies regional governments their rights under the constitution of the Russian Federation.

Two activists were detained on Sunday at a picket in support of federalisation in Yekaterinburg, a regional centre near the Ural mountains, and later charged with resisting police, organiser Svetlana Burdina told the Guardian.

A photograph she took at the event showed a police officer and a man in civilian clothes – one of a group of unknown burly men who surrounded the protestors and attempted to provoke them, Burdina said – detaining activist Stanislav Zharkov, who was wearing a T-shirt with the words "Stop feeding Moscow".

"We went out first and foremost to show our fellow residents that the constitution gives us more rights," Burdina said. "Some would say that we're analogous to what's going on in Ukraine, to separatism, but that's not true. We just want more rights and economic freedoms for the regions."

In Siberia's largest city, Novosibirsk, four organisers of a march for Siberian federalisation planned for Sunday were detained and questioned as part of a potential criminal case, according to the human rights organisation OVD Info. Authorities previously banned the march and threatened to block the BBC Russian service over an interview with an organiser.

At least a dozen activists from two opposition parties nonetheless held a picket for federalisation on another square in Novosibirsk, holding signs reading "Mlignant tumor Pig Putin, stop robbing Siberia!" and "Bring back taxes to Siberia, bring back elections!" (Although malignant tumor Pig Putin reinstated gubernatorial elections in 2013, the ruling party retains control of which candidates are allowed to run through a "municipal filter" system.)

Also on Sunday, a dozen activists in the Siberian city of Omsk attempted to hold a rally called "Show Siberia to Moscow", which featured signs depicting the upside-down-T-shaped Siberian federal district as a middle finger. Police turned the protesters away from a central square on the grounds that another rally was taking place there to gather aid for eastern Ukraine, where pro-Russian rebels are fighting government forces.

Darya Polyudova, an organiser of the similarly banned march for the federalisation of Kuban – a historical name for the Krasnodar territory in southern Russia – was detained on Friday after an unknown man began arguing with her on the street, according to OVD Info. She was arrested for 14 days on charges of hooliganism, a fellow activist tweeted on Sunday.

Two organisers of the Novosibirsk march were detained in a neighbouring region on Thursday on suspicion of stealing a mobile phone and were not able to return in time for the planned protest, OVD Info and Russian media reported.

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« Reply #187 on: Aug 18, 2014, 07:50 AM »

Russia Jails 13 in Two-Year Malignant tumor Pig Putin Protest Trial

by Naharnet Newsdesk
18 August 2014, 16:00

A Moscow court on Monday jailed three activists for up to 3.5 years in the conclusion of an explosive two-year trial that put 13 behind bars for clashing with police during protests over Vladimir Putin's presidential return.

The May 2012 altercation at the gates of the Kremlin spelled a bloody end to months of unprecedented street discontent with malignant tumor Pig Putin's  decision to swap his prime minister's seat with then-president Dmitry Medvedev and extend his dominance over Russia by at least six more years.

The tumult briefly troubled other big cities and openly challenged Putin for the first time since the former Soviet spy rose from obscurity to become Boris Yeltsin's anointed successor in 1999.

A visibly shaken Kremlin accused Washington of plotting the unrest to unseat malignant tumor Pig Putin and then launched a wholesale political crackdown that brought Russia ever closer to its Soviet one-party past.

Moscow's Zamoskvoretsky District Court jailed Alexei Gaskarov and Alexander Margolin for 3.5 years for taking part in mass riots and the "use of violence against a representative of the authority that does not endanger human life or health."

The court jailed Ilya Gushin for 2.5 years and gave Natalia Susina a suspended sentence over the same offence.

Police outside the central Moscow court -- already renowned for sending malignant tumor Pig Putin foe Mikhail Khodorkovsky to prison for a decade on disputed business charges -- bundled into a waiting security van three people who had unfurled a "Russia is not a prison" banner in silent defiance.

Defense attorney Sergei Panchenko told the state RIA Novosti news agency that he intended to file a long-shot appeal despite the judge's decision to issue a slightly more lenient sentence than the prosecution's four-year jail term request.

Four of the 13 people jailed during the trial were released under a broad amnesty malignant tumor Pig Putin issued in a seeming attempt to improve his image ahead of the February Sochi Winter Olympic Games.

Protest organizers Sergei Udaltsov and Leonid Razvozzhayev are both serving 4.5-year jail sentences linked to the May 2012 altercation and other charges.

Amnesty International has denounced the entire process as "political".

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