1 thought on “Final Project topic: cybersecurity

  1. Putin: From Oligarch to Kleptocrat
    Ruth May

    The mix of high-ranking officials in Putin’s inner circle is collectively referred to as the siloviki, a term that conveys power with the ultimate authority to secure compliance. Despite Putin’s market-friendly rhetoric, designed to instill confidence in global investors, his immediate strategy was to steer Russia away from its nascent market economy to a state-capitalist oligarchy.

    It was around this time that one of my closest Russian colleagues told me that he believed that the only thing that Putin truly feared was the power of “uncontrolled” social media. In the year that had then just passed, Putin had watched as, one by one, leaders of authoritarian regimes in the Middle East and North Africa were overthrown by protesters during the Arab Spring. He was determined not to allow this to happen in the streets of Moscow.

    In July 2012, Putin signed the Internet Restriction Law, which established a federal blacklist of websites containing any content that the government deemed “extreme.” The law permitted Roskomnadzor, the mass-media regulator, to block—without a court order—public access to any website; it also expanded a ten-year-old statute, the Law on the Counteraction of Extremist Activity, that permitted courts to issue cease and desist orders at the government’s request to media companies that published or aired material that could be damaging to an individual’s image. There would be no more satirical puppet shows mocking politicians.

    The ouster of Yanukovych—as a portent of what might happen to him—was a shocking blow to Putin. His approval ratings had slipped to 63 percent by the end of 2013; there was no way he would risk another round of protests in the streets of Moscow. Accusing the US of orchestrating the anti-government movement in Ukraine, he clamped down even harder on freedom of speech via social media. He enacted Russia’s so-called Blogger Law, which requires website owners with more than 3,000 hits per day on their blogs or social media accounts to register with the state as a media company and comply with all federal regulations.

    When Russia annexed Crimea in March 2014, and later moved troops into eastern Ukraine, foreign investors got a shock. Foreign direct investment in Russia fell from a record high of $69.2 billion in 2013 to $22 billion in 2014. To make matters worse for Russia, oil prices had cratered, which further depressed the value of the ruble. More than half of Russia’s federal budget revenue is generated from the sales of its oil exports. Putin couldn’t control oil prices, but he already controlled the media and was able to strengthen his domestic approval rating by distributing “fake news” coverage that portrayed the US as the main aggressor among Western governments in attempting to weaken Russia through economic sanctions.

    Watch Part of a Film Commissioned by Vladimir Putin — About Himself
    JANUARY 12, 2015 / by TIM MOLLOY



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