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September 28 2014

Anton Nossik on the Coming End of Facebook, Twitter, and Google in Russia

A Russian apocalypse might be headed for social networks like Facebook, Twitter, and Google. Images mixed by Kevin Rothrock.

Severing Russia’s connection to American Internet giants looks increasingly likely. Earlier today, September 26, Russia’s Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology, and Mass Media (Roskomnadzor) revealed it has formally demanded that Facebook, Twitter, and Google obey a new law requiring “organizers of information distribution” to store on Russian soil six-month meta data archives, making them accessible to Russian police. Also, the Duma is poised to pass the final reading of amendments to another law that will require websites and certain apps to store all user data on servers located inside Russia by January 1, 2015, rather than September 2016, as the law originally planned.

For months already, speculation that the Kremlin will cut off access to American online social media has been a regular feature of commentary about the RuNet. Now, one of the Russian Internet’s most respected voices says he’s confident that websites like Facebook, Twitter, and Google will soon be things of the past in Russian cyberspace. Writing on LiveJournal today, media expert and founding member of the Russian blogosphere Anton Nossik explained why he thinks the end is nigh in Russia for websites used by billions around the globe.

With the author’s permission, RuNet Echo is making Nossik’s blog post available to English speakers.

“Facebook, Twitter, and Google: the Mechanics of Disconnection,”
by Anton Nossik

Roskomnadzor has started preparing to block in Russia the servers of Facebook, Twitter, and Google.

The original plan was to block these services in the second half of 2016, but Duma deputies suddenly changed their minds this week, approving revisions to new legislation that move the disconnection date to January 1, 2015. But Roskomnadzor is hurrying to create the preconditions for this shut-off even sooner.

The technology for disconnecting is two-stage. First, the government will present foreign Internet companies with clearly impractical demands to relocate all user data to locations under the control of Russia’s FSB [the Federal Security Service]. Then, for failing to comply with these demands, state officials will disconnect them. More accurately, they’ll disconnect us from them.

After being registered by Roskomnadzor as an organizer of information distribution, a website must maintain “on the territory of the Russian Federation information [from the past six months] about the reception, transmission, delivery, and (or) processing of communication by voice, writing, images, sounds, or other electronic means between users of the Internet.” Failure to fulfill these demands carries a penalty of up to 500,000 rubles, Roskomnadzor explains.

Maybe you're thinking the journalists at Izvestia left out an important nuance: just exactly whose data needs to be stored on Russian soil. Does this concern only Russian citizens, Russian-speaking Internet users worldwide, or citizens of any country, who happen to be on Russian territory, when accessing the Web?

In fact, Izvestia’s journalists aren't guilty of anything here. Of course, they could have asked the Roskomnadzor official this interesting question, and maybe even did ask, but simply weren’t permitted to print the answer. The raw truth is that the answer isn’t actually written in the federal law passed by the government. There was no effort to limit the jurisdiction of the Duma’s laws and the legitimate sphere of interest of Russia’s FSB—not by the criterion of citizenship, not by language, not by geography. If you read Federal Law 97 as it was actually written and passed, you’ll see that it concerns the reception and transmission of anyone’s data—American and European, Japanese and Canadian, Israeli and New Zealander, without any kind of restrictions. And the law’s definition of a blog is also quite generous. Allow me to quote the law, as you probably won’t believe me:

The owner of a site and (or) particular page of a site on the Internet, on which there is publicly accessible information and which attracts more than 3,000 daily visits from users of the Internet, (henceforth referred to as a “blogger”) is obligated to observe the laws of the Russian Federation, when distributing and using this information, including the distribution of said information on the website or website’s page by other users of the Internet.

Here it’s plainly clear there aren’t restrictions of any kind. Not by citizenship, not by language, and not by geography. If you’ve got 3,000 unique visitors in a day, you’re on the list, so please fall in. Even if your language is Indonesian and your entire audience is on the island of Java. Either you recognize the jurisdiction of a flock of sheep [i.e., Russia], or we’ll block you. That's what the law says.

Naturally, nobody is planning to enforce this law as it was passed. From the beginning, the task has been something else. Still ten days before the law went into effect, Roskomnadzor’s Maxim Ksenzov explained to everyone that his agency wouldn’t enforce any provisions of this law in any way except as selective political censorship.

We do not aim nor have we ever aimed to organize a census of all popular Russian-language Internet users. This would be a pointless exercise, and the law isn’t about that. […] The blogger registry created by the law, which Roskomnadzor will launch on August 1, wasn’t created to provide statistical calculations […]. We see no specific need for a preliminary assessment of the number of Internet users who potentially fall into the law’s “blogger” category. The statistics will be gathered as the law is enforced and will be flexible.

Flexibility is perhaps the defining quality of Russian law enforcement this season. Whomever they point the finger at tomorrow will be the next one visited by this “flexibility.” But the top priority now is blocking Facebook, Twitter, and Google’s services in Russia. The Duma has set a deadline of January 1, 2015, but Roskomnadzor is hurrying to get it done even earlier.

I don’t know what brought on this rush. In any event, for now we’re only talking about the kind of disconnection technology that is easily overcome with the help of proxies and VPN.

This text is a full English translation of an article by Anton Nossik that appeared in Russian on Nossik’s LiveJournal blog on September 26, 2014.

Written by Kevin Rothrock · View original post [en] · comments (0)
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Reposted from02mysoup-aa 02mysoup-aa

September 23 2014

Un bateau de croisière affrété par un tour opérateur allemand fait escale à Yalta en Crimée Germans…

Un bateau de croisière affrété par un tour opérateur allemand fait escale à Yalta en #Crimée

Germans ignore international embargo against Russian-occupied Crimea ::

On Sept 17 ‘Ocean Majesty’, a Greek luxury cruise liner operated by the German tourist agency Hansa Touristik GmbH flouted the international embargo and sailed from Sochi in Russia into the Crimea, arriving in Yalta at around 8.30 Kyiv time.  While the FSB carried out an 11-hour search of the Mejlis and men with machine guns raided a Mejlis member’s home, a major Crimean Tatar charity and the Mejlis’s newspaper Avdet, 500 German tourists basked in the Yalta sunshine.
Ukraine issued a directive on July 15 whereby it closed the ports in Yevpatoria; Kerch; Feodosia; Yalta and Sevastopol to international shipping. That information was passed to the International Maritime Organization and its members, as well as to representatives of foreign companies with IMO accreditation

Ukraine is entitled to demand that ships which have illegally docked in Crimean ports are arrested in any port in the world. According to Oleg Alyoshin, partner in the law firm Vasyl Kisil and Partners, this is in full accordance with the International Ship and Port Security Code. Alyoshin explained to Interfax Ukraine that Ukraine has a wide range of legal means for defending its interests including arrest of ships which enter Crimean ports while the Crimea is under Russian occupation. It can also seek a ban on their entry into the Crimea by citing the same code.

L’affaire vue par RIA-Novosti,…

July 23 2014

4351 649d 500

Einen aussagekräftigeren Nachweis über seine meinungsbildende Nachhaltigkeit hätte sich der hochklassige deutschsprachige Qualitätsjounalismus nicht wünschen können.

Spiegel-online link via fefe
Reposted bydarksideofthemoon darksideofthemoon

August 08 2013

Play fullscreen
▶ Chilean Economist Manfred Max-Neef on Edward Snowden - YouTube

06.08.2013 - Democracy Now! anchor Amy Goodman recently spoke with Chilean economist Manfred Max-Neef about Ed Snowden, when he was still in the Russian airport. This interview took place in Bogotá, Colombia, at a gathering of Latin American Right Livelihood laureates, often referred to as the Alternative Nobel Prize.

MANFRED MAX-NEEF: In this meeting, we produced a declaration about this thing, about what happened to President Evo Morales, which we consider is an unbelievable and unacceptable abuse in terms of international law. And we also stated that we are appalled by the incredible cynicism of practically all the countries in the world vis-à-vis what this young man has done, sacrificing his life and his future for something in which he believed. If you analyze what Snowden did and then read the Declaration of Independence of the United States, and what that young man did is exactly, exactly, exactly what Thomas Jefferson said that an American citizen should do if a government, you know, does the kind of things that have been discovered now.

I am appalled, you know, that nobody in the world is stretching their hands to this young man. Particularly, you realize, the European Union announced that they are furious with the United States, you know, for the things that the States has been doing—spying on them, you know, as in the days of the Cold War. They are furious against it. Why are they furious? Because of something that this young man revealed. But nobody stretches a hand to this young man. They use the information that he gave in order to be furious with the United States government, but they forget about the person, the human being who sacrificed himself to do it. I am really—think that this is a Greek tragedy, no? Really a Greek tragedy. And I'm deeply disappointed, you know, even with my country, with my president, who opposed that the foreign ministers of Latin America should get together in order to discuss and take a decision about what happened to President Evo Morales. Chile and Colombia were against the initiative. And I am ashamed, you know, of my own government to have an attitude like that. So I am really sorry, and I would love to be able to give a hug to this brave young man.

Reposted bywikileaks wikileaks

May 30 2013

EGMR zur "Gerüchtsberichterstattung": Art 10 EMRK ist kein Freibrief für die Verbreitung unbegründeter Gerüchte

Die Verurteilung von Zeitungsherausgebern und Journalisten wegen übler Nachrede prüft der EGMR stets besonders genau "im Kontext der zentralen Rolle der Presse für das Funktionieren einer demokratischen Gesellschaft" (siehe die Fälle Lingens und Sürek). Wer aber bloße "Gerüchtsberichterstattung" ohne jegliche Faktenbasis betreibt, kann sich nicht erfolgreich auf das Recht auf freie Meinungsäußerung nach Art 10 EMRK berufen, wie das heutige Urteil des EGMR im Fall OOO ‘Vesti’ and Ukhov gegen Russland (Appl. no. 21724/03) wieder einmal zeigt.

Der Fall ist wenig spektakulär und rechtfertigt ein eigenes Blogpost nur im Hinblick auf einen Nebenaspekt, der aber nicht Art 10 EMRK, sondern das Recht auf Entscheidung durch ein unparteiliches Gericht nach Art 6 Abs 1 EMRK betrifft (siehe dazu ganz unten). Zunächst aber zum Ausgangsverfahren:

Zum Ausgangssachverhalt
In einem Artikel der Zeitung Gubernskie Vesti, Kirov, wurde über eine Pressekonferenz des Obersten Bundesinspektors für die Region Kirov berichtet, in der es um das Projekt "Kirov, Kulturhauptstadt der Wolga-Region" ging. Der Bundesinspektor hatte dabei den Unwillen der lokalen Wirtschaft zur Unterstützung des Projekts kritisiert. Im Artikel wurde angemerkt, dass einige Geschäftsleute gegenüber dem Verfasser des Artikels mitgeteilt hätten, sie seien vom Büro des Bundesinspektors mit "Angeboten" zum Sponsoring belästigt worden; sie hätten aber nicht mitwirken wollen, weil der Bundesinspektor zu tief in politische Spielchen involviert sei, an denen sie nicht teilnehmen wollten. Andere seien besorgt gewesen, dass ihr Geld für Geliebte des Geldeintreibers verschwendet und nicht für Kulturereignisse ausgegeben würde.

Der Bundesinspektor klagte wegen übler Nachrede und gewann sowohl gegenüber dem Herausgeber der Zeitung als auch gegenüber dem Verfasser des Artikels. Der Zeitungsherausgeber wurde zur Veröffentlichung eines Widerrufs und zu Schadenersatz für den immateriellen Schaden in der Höhe von rund 650 € verurteilt, der Journalist zu rund 80 €.

Keine Verletzung des Artikel 10 EMRK
Sowohl der Herausgeber als auch der Journalist beschwerten sich beim EGMR. Unstrittig lag ein Eingriff in das Recht auf freie Meinungsäußerung vor. Strittig war aber schon, ob im nationalen Verfahren der richtige Herausgeber "erwischt" worden war, was der EGMR bejahte, und ob eine ausreichende gesetzliche Grundlage für die Anordnung des Widerrufs gegeben war, was der EGMR ebenfalls - unter Hinweis auf seine bisherige Rechtsprechung (Kazakov) - bejahte.

Zur Frage der Notwendigkeit des Eingriffs in einer demokratischen Gesellschaft verwies der EGMR zunächst auf die zentrale Rolle der Presse, auf den Umstand, dass der Kläger im nationalen Verfahren (Bundesinspektor) Beamter war, der in seiner öffentlichen Funktion mehr an Kritik aushalten muss (vergleiche den Fall Thoma), und schließlich darauf, dass der Vorwurf der Unterschlagung öffentlicher Gelder eine Angelegenheit des öffentlichen Interesses ist, sodass grundsätzlich wenig Raum für eine Einschränkung der Debatte über eine Angelegenheit bleibt (siehe den Fall Feldek).

Allerdings müssen Journalisten auch in gutem Glauben und auf einer genauen Tatsachenbasis handeln und verlässliche und genaue Information in Übereinstimmung mit journalistischer Ethik bereitstellen ("acting in good faith and on an accurate factual basis and provide 'reliable and precise' information in accordance with the ethics of journalism").

Die Beschwerdeführer meinten zwar, dass der Hinweis auf das Verschwenden des Geldes für Geliebte auf einen (anderen) Geldeintreiber ("collector of funds") gemünzt gewesen sei, zumal der Bundesinspektor nicht zuständig sei, Gelder für das Sponsoring einzuheben. Der EGMR konnte jedoch der Beurteilung der nationalen Gerichte folgen, dass für Leser des Artikels der Eindruck entstand, dass mit dem Geldeintreiber der Bundesinspektor gemeint war, dem damit vorgeworfen wurde, öffentliche Gelder für seine Geliebte auszugeben (tatsächlich hatten auch andere Zeitungen den Artikel in dieser Weise verstanden).

Der EGMR kritisierte zwar, dass die nationalen Gerichte sich nicht dazu geäußert hatten, ob es sich dabei um eine Tatsachenmitteilung oder ein Werturteil handelte, für das Ergebnis macht das aber keinen Unterschied: auch Werturteile müssen auf einer ausreichenden Tatsachengrundlage beruhen (siehe den Fall Jerusalem). Die Beschwerdeführer hatten nie versucht, eine ausreichend genaue und verlässliche Tatsachengrundlage für ihren Vorwurf, dass der Bundesinspektor Geliebte habe und öffentliche Gelder für sie aufwende, unter Beweis zu stellen. Der Journalist hatte die ihm angeblich von (ungenannten) Geschäftsleuten mitgeteilten Gerüchte auch nie zu verifizieren versucht. Auch "public fugures" können erwarten, gegen die Verbreitung unbegründeter Gerüchte über ihr Privatleben geschützt zu werden (der EGMR verweist dazu auf das Urteil Standard Verlags GmbH [Nr 2], wo ein Artikel mit der Überschrift "ein bürgerliches Gerücht" zu beurteilen war, in dem über angebliche Eheprobleme des damaligen österreichischen Staatsoberhaupts berichtet wurde). Damit hatten die Beschwerdeführer die Grenzen eines verantwortungsvollen Journalismus überschritten, sodass die Verurteilung wegen übler Nachrede keine Verletzung des Art 10 EMRK darstellte.

Unparteilichkeit des Gerichts
Eine interessante Frage stellte sich zur Unparteilichkeit des Gerichts: Da der Artikelverfasser in der Zeitung nicht genannt war, wurde das nationale Verfahren zunächst nur gegen den Herausgeber geführt. Erst nachdem der Journalist sich geoutet hatte, leitete der selbe Richter, der das Verfahren gegen den Herausgeber geführt hatte, auch das Verfahren gegen den Journalisten ein, wobei er in diesem Fall nicht als Einzelrichter, sondern als Vorsitzender eines Senates (dem außer ihm zwei Laienrichter angehörten) führte. Der EGMR räumt ein, dass unter diesen Umständen Zweifel an der Unabhängigkeit des Richters entstehen könnten.

Zur Beurteilung, ob diese Zweifel objektiv gerechtfertigt wären, müssen die Umstände des Einzelfalls geprüft werden. Dazu untersuchte der EGMR die Funktion des Richters in beiden Verfahren, weiters ob sich im Urteil gegen den Herausgeber Äußerungen betreffend den Journalisten finden, und schließlich ob im Verfahren gegen den Journalisten die Sache unter Zugrundelegung vom Journalisten vorgelegter Beweise neu beurteilt wurde. Der EGMR kam zum Ergebnis, dass das Zweiturteil keine Hinweis auf das erste Urteil enthielt, dass der Richter auch nicht an das erste Urteil gebunden war und dass im zweiten Verfahren eine neue Beweisaufnahme im kontradiktorischen Verfahren erfolgt war und der Richter die Sache neu beurteilt hatte. Es handelte sich auch um einen Berufsrichter, der über die notwendige Erfahrung und Ausbildung verfügte, und schließlich wurde die zweite Entscheidung auch in einer anderen Formation getroffen (Senat mit zusätzlich zwei Laienrichtern, deren Unbefangenheit nicht in Zweifel gezogen worden war). Unter diesen Umständen lag keine Verletzung des Art 6 Abs 1 EMRK vor.

February 20 2013


November 26 2012

October 29 2012

November 21 2011


Programme of the Socialist Revolutionary Party, 1905

In its cultural and social relations, contemporary Russia increasingly enters into closer and closer ties with the advanced countries of the civilised world, while at the same time it preserves a number of peculiarities that have been formulated by the course of its past history, its local conditions, and its international situation.

All the advanced countries of the civilised world, parallel to the growth of the population and its basic needs, experience the growth of man's power over nature, the improved means of utilising its natural forces, and the increase of creative power of human work in all the spheres of activity. This growth is an indispensable condition for social progress and for the struggle toward a balanced and harmonious development of human individuality.

But this growth of human control over nature takes place in contemporary society under a condition of bourgeois competition of uncoordinated economic units, of private control of the means of production, of transformation of the latter into capital, and of advance exploitation of the direct producers or their indirect subordination to capital. Parallel to the development of the foundations of contemporary society, society itself increasingly transforms itself into two classes: a class of exploited toilers who receive increasingly lower rewards for the wealth their work creates, and a class of exploiters who have a monopoly on the control of natural forces and the social means of production.

As long as in those narrow frames of bourgeois capitalist relations there develop-albeit one sided and incomplete-forms of collective labour and mass production, so long will the contemporary economic development reveal positive, creative aspects, because it prepares certain material elements for a higher socialist system of life and unites in a compact social force the industrial armies of hired workers.

However, since bourgeois capitalist forms tend to narrow, limit, and impede the development of collective forms of labour and socially productive forces, the contemporary economic development strengthens its negative, destructive aspects: the anarchy of commodity production and competition; sterile waste of its economic forces; crises which shatter the national economy to its foundation; the growth of exploitation; dependence and insecurity of the toiling masses; the corrupting power of money on all moral standards; the selfish struggle of all against all for existence and privileged position.

Mutual relations between the positive and negative aspects of contemporary economic development vary from one branch of industry to another and from one country to another. They are relatively good in more advanced branches of industry and in countries of classical capitalism; they become less and less good in other branches of industry, especially in agriculture, and in countries situated less advantageously in the international economic struggle.

But, regardless of those distinctions, the incompatibility and contradiction between the positive and the negative aspects of contemporary economic development represents a general and growing fact fraught with serious historical consequences.

With the growth of social division between the exploiters and the exploited, with the growth of contradictions between the productivity of labour and the inconsequential reward of workers for their products, and with the increase of the norms of their exploitation, there also grows dissatisfaction among the exploited with their conditions in contemporary society.

The exploiting classes are trying to perpetuate the basis of their existence exploitation through rent, profit on capital in all of its forms, and increased taxes of the toiling masses. By means of syndicates, cartels, and trusts they are trying to control, for their egoistic gains, the means of production as well as consumption. They are trying to appropriate for their class interest all the institutions of the contemporary state and to transform it completely into a weapon of their rule and impoverishment of the exploited. Finally, they are striving to subjugate spiritual and material literature, art, science, and public opinion in order to keep the toiling masses not only in economic but in intellectual dependence as well.

Not possessing any other resources, or having lost them already in the struggle, they are joining hands with the reactionary forces of the dead past, are resurrecting racial and religious animosity, are poisoning national consciousness with chauvinism or nationalism, and are entering into alliances with the remnants of monarchical and Church-clerical institutions.

The bourgeois system has gradually abandoned its former progressive content, has brought intellectual sterility to its ruling classes, has caused the alienation of the intellectual and moral flower of the nation, and has left it to suffer in the hostile camp of the oppressed and the exploited.

The exploited classes naturally are trying to protect themselves from the pressing burden, and in proportion to the growth of their consciousness they are uniting themselves in this struggle and are directing it against the very foundations of bourgeois exploitation. International by its nature, this movement is becoming increasingly a movement of the great majority in the interest of the great majority, a factor that represents the key to its victory.

International revolutionary socialism represents a conscious expression, scientific illumination, and formulation of this movement. Its aim is intellectual, political, and economic emancipation of the working class. It advances above all as an initiating revolutionary minority, as the fighting vanguard of the toiling masses, trying constantly at the same time to merge with the masses and incorporate them into its ranks. Its basic practical aim is to make all layers of the toiling and exploited people awake that they are one working class, that that class is the only hope of their freedom by means of a planned, organised struggle to create a socio-revolutionary upheaval that consists of:

  1. Freeing of all public institutions from control of the exploiting classes.
  2. Eliminating, alongside private property in natural forces and in public means of production, the very division of the society into classes.
  3. Eliminating the contemporary, stratified, compulsory, repressive nature of public institutions while at the same time preserving and developing their normal cultural functions; that is, planned organisation of public work for public good.

The realisation of this programme will make possible an uninterrupted, free, and unhampered development of all spiritual and material forces of mankind. It will also turn the growth of public wealth from a source of dependence and oppression of the working class into a source of prosperity and balanced harmonious development of human dignity. It will also halt the degeneration of mankind from uselessness and superfluity on the one hand, and, on the other, the presence of excessive work and semi-starvation. Finally, only through the introduction of a free socialist society will mankind be able to develop fully its physical, mental, and moral capabilities and introduce realism, truth, and solidarity ever fully into public life. Consequently, the essence of contemporary socialism is the freeing of all mankind. It seeks elimination of all forms of civil strife among peoples, of all forms of violence and exploitation of man by man; instead, it seeks to introduce freedom, equality and brotherhood of all regardless of sex, race, religion or nationality.

The Socialist Revolutionary Party of Russia views its task as an organic, component part of a universal struggle of labour against the exploitation of human dignity, against all barriers that prevent its development into social forms, and conducts it in the spirit of general interests of that struggle in ways that are determined by concrete conditions of Russian reality.

The mutual co-operation between the patriarchal nobility-bureaucratic autocracy and new bourgeois exploitation intensifies the social problem in Russia. The development of capitalism reveals here, more than anywhere else, its dark aspects and, less than anywhere else, it balances the organised creative influence of the growth of public productive forces. The abnormally growing bureaucratic apparatus of the state, as a result of the emancipation of serfs and the development of the kulak system in all of its aspects and forms, increasingly paralyses the productive forces of the village. The tolling peasantry is forced to a large degree to seek help either in subsidiary enterprises or hired labour, and receives from all of its labour an earning that corresponds to the lowest wage earning of an industrial worker. This factor also limits and undermines the domestic market of industry, which in addition suffers from shortages of foreign markets. Surplus population and the capitalist surplus labour force progressively increase, which, because of the competition, lowers the living standards of the city proletariat. The labour movement is forced to develop in conditions of an autocratic regime based on the all-embracing police protection and suppression of individual and public initiative. The class of great industrialists and merchants, more reactionary than everywhere else, depends increasingly on the support of autocracy against the proletariat, and against the toiling masses of the village. In the interest of self-preservation the autocracy has intensified the oppression of the subjugated nationalities of Imperial Russia, has paralysed their spiritual renaissance, has imposed national, racial, and religious antagonism in order to cloud the understanding of socio-political interests of the toiling masses. The existence of autocracy represents an irreconcilable and progressively intensifying contradiction with all of the economic, socio-political and cultural growth of the country. As a reliable ally and pillar of the most exploiting and parasitic classes in Russia, beyond its frontiers Russian autocracy is also one of the main bulwarks of reaction and a great danger to the cause of the freedom struggle of the working parties of other countries. Its overthrow should be the immediate and immediate objective of the Socialist Revolutionary Party, not only as the first indispensable condition for the solution of the social problem in Russia, but also as a major factor of international progress.

The burden of the struggle with autocracy, irrespective of the liberal-democratic opposition, which primarily includes middle class elements of the educated society," falls on the proletariat, the toiling peasantry, and the revolutionary-socialist intellig' entsia. The immediate task of the Socialist Revolutionary Party, which assumes the leading role in this struggle, is to broaden and deepen the social and property changes to pave the way thereby for the overthrow of autocracy.

To realise fully its programme, namely the expropriation of capitalist property and the reorganisation of production and of the entire social system on socialist foundations, it is essential that there be a complete victory of the working class, organised by the Socialist Revolutionary Party, and, in case of need, that there be established a temporary revolutionary dictatorship.

So long as the organised working class, as the revolutionary minority, can exert only partial influence on the change of the social system and legislation, the Socialist Revolutionary Party must see to it that the working class is not blinded by its partial gains and does not lose sight of its ultimate goal; that by its revolutionary struggle the proletariat would seek in this period such changes that would develop and strengthen its solidarity and ability to fight for freedom, would help to elevate its intellectual and cultural needs, and would strengthen its fighting position and eliminate barriers that hinder its organisation.

Since the process of the transformation of Russia is led by non-socialist forces, the Socialist Revolutionary Party, on the basis of the above principles will advocate, defend, and seek by its revolutionary struggle the following reforms:

  • In the Realm of Politics and Legislation The establishment of a democratic republic with broad autonomy for oblasts and communes, both urban and rural; increased acceptance of federal principles in relations between various nationalities; granting them unconditional right to self-determination; direct, secret, equal, and universal right to vote for every citizen above twenty years of age regardless of sex, religion, or national origin; proportional representation; direct popular legislation (referenda and initiatives); election, removability at all times, and accountability of all officials; complete freedom of conscience, speech, press, meetings, strikes, and unions; complete and general civil equality; inviolability of the individual and home; complete separation of the church from the state and declaration that religion is a private affair for every individual; introduction of a compulsory, general public education at government expense; equality of languages; free justice; abolition of permanent armies and their replacement by a people's militia.
  • In the Realm of National Economy
    1. In the matter of labour legislation the Socialist Revolutionary Party sets as its aim the safeguarding of spiritual and material forces of the working class and increasing its capability of further struggle to whose goals should be subordinated all expedient, direct, local, and professional interests of the diverse working strata. In this sphere the Party will advocate: a reduction of the working time in order to relieve surplus labour; establishment of a legal maximum of working time based on norms determined by health conditions (an eight-hour working norm for most branches of industry as soon as possible, and lower norms for work which is dangerous or harmful to health ); establishment of a minimum wage in agreement between administration and labour unions; complete government insurance (for accident, unemployment, sickness, old age, and so on), administered by the insured at the expense of the state and employers; legislative protection of labour in all branches of industry and trade, in accordance with the health conditions supervised by factory inspection commissions elected by workers (normal working conditions, hygienic conditions of buildings; prohibition of work for youngsters below sixteen years of age, limitation of work for youngsters, prohibition of female and child labour in some branches of industry and during specified periods, adequate and uninterrupted Sunday rest, and so forth); professional organisation of workers and their increased participation in determining internal rules in industrial enterprises.
    2. In matters of agricultural policy and land relations, the Socialist Revolutionary Party sets its task to be, in the interests of socialism and the struggle against the bourgeois property system, the utilisation of the communal as well as the labour views, the traditions and way of life of Russian peasants and especially their views on land as the public property of all the toilers. Consequently, the Party will support socialisation of all privately owned lands; that is, their transfer from private property of individual owners to public domain and administration by democratically organised communes and territorial associations of communes on the basis of equalised utilisation. Should this basic demand of the agrarian minimum programme not be realised at once as a revolutionary measure, the Socialist Revolutionary Party in its future agrarian policy will be guided by consideration of a possible realisation of this demand in its entirety, advocating such related measures as: broadening of the rights of communes and their territorial associations in expropriating privately owned lands; confiscation of lands belonging to monasteries, princes, ministers, and so forth, and their transfer, together with state properties, to communes, in order that they would have an adequate amount, and also for the needs of resettlement and redistribution; limiting of payments for the use of land to the amount of clear profit from the farm (less gross revenue of the cost of production and normal remuneration for labour); reimbursement for improvements on land when it is transferred from one user to another; conversion of rent through a special tax into a source of revenue for the communes and self-governing institutions.
    3. In matters of financial policy the Party will agitate for the introduction of a progressive tax on income and inheritance, and for complete freedom from taxation of small incomes below an established norm; it will agitate for the elimination of indirect taxes (except luxury taxes), protective duties, all other taxes that burden labour.
    4. In matters of municipal and land economy, the Party will support the development of all kinds of public services, land agronomy organisation, communalisation of water supply, education, ways and means of communication, and so forth; will support the granting of broad powers to urban and rural communes to tax immovable property as well as the right to confiscate it if this be necessary to improve the living standards of the toiling population; will support communal and zemstvo as well as governmental policy aimed at helping the development of co-operatives on solid democratic foundation.
    5. With respect to various measures aimed at nationalisation of one or another sectors of the national economy within the framework of a bourgeois state, the Socialist Revolutionary Party will support these measures, provided they are accompanied by a democratisation of the political system, by a change in social forces, and that the very nature of these measures themselves would provide sufficient guarantee against increased dependence of the working class on ruling bureaucracy. In general the Socialist Revolutionary Party warns the working class against "state socialism," which is partly a system of half measures for the strengthening of the working class . . . and partly a peculiar type of state capitalism that concentrates various branches of production and trade in the hands of the ruling bureaucracy for their financial and political aims.<

The Socialist Revolutionary Party, in commencing its direct revolutionary struggle with autocracy, agitates for the calling of the Zemskii Sobor {National Assembly} freely elected by the people regardless of sex, social status, nationality, or religion, to liquidate the autocratic regime and to reform all present systems. The Party will support its programme of reform in the National Assembly and it will also try to realise it directly during the revolutionary period.


The October Manifesto of 1905

On the improvement of order in the state

The disturbances and unrest in St Petersburg, Moscow and in many other parts of our Empire have filled Our heart with great and profound sorrow. The welfare of the Russian Sovereign and His people is inseparable and national sorrow is His too. The present disturbances could give rise to national instability and present a threat to the unity of Our State. The oath which We took as Tsar compels Us to use all Our strength, intelligence and power to put a speedy end to this unrest which is so dangerous for the State. The relevant authorities have been ordered to take measures to deal with direct outbreaks of disorder and violence and to protect people who only want to go about their daily business in peace. However, in view of the need to speedily implement earlier measures to pacify the country, we have decided that the work of the government must be unified. We have therefore ordered the government to take the following measures in fulfilment of our unbending will:

  1. Fundamental civil freedoms will be granted to the population, including real personal inviolability, freedom of conscience, speech, assembly and association.
  2. Participation in the Duma will be granted to those classes of the population which are at present deprived of voting powers, insofar as is possible in the short period before the convocation of the Duma, and this will lead to the development of a universal franchise. There will be no delay to the Duma elect already been organized.
  3. It is established as an unshakeable rule that no law can come into force without its approval by the State Duma and representatives of the people will be given the opportunity to take real part in the supervision of the legality of government bodies.

We call on all true sons of Russia to remember the homeland, to help put a stop to this unprecedented unrest and, together with this, to devote all their strength to the restoration of peace to their native land.

August 23 2011

Il y a vingt ans en URSS

Le coup de force des 18-21 août 1991 à Moscou, « tentative désespérée » de sauver l'URSS d'une dislocation inévitable, a précisément dégagé la voie à cette implosion et à la « thérapie de choc » ultralibérale des partisans de Boris Eltsine. Comment expliquer cet effet aussi « contre-productif » de l'aventure ? (...) / Russie, URSS, Communisme, Histoire, Libéralisme, Privatisation - La valise diplomatique

// oAnth

Other entries to the 20th anniversary of the End of the Soviet Union on - oAnth - you find here

August 22 2011

August 20 2011


3sat.Mediathek - Video: Ende einer Supermacht - Der Putsch gegen Gorbatschow (19/08/11)

Ende einer Supermacht - Der Putsch gegen Gorbatschow

Die Welt hält am 19. August 1991 den Atem an: Panzer in Moskau. Kommunistische Hardliner haben Gorbatschow an seinem Urlaubsort festgesetzt. Der Westen befürchtet die Wiedergeburt des Kalten Kriegs.

Other entries to the 20th anniversary of the End of the Soviet Union on - oAnth - you find here

Other entries to the 20th anniversary of the End of the Soviet Union on - oAnth - you find here

August 19 2011

Russia: Bloggers Remember 20th Anniversary of August Coup

On August 19, 2011, Russians commemorate 20 years since the “August Putsch,” (August Coup) a failed coup d'etat conducted by a number of KGB officers and military units who were opposed to Gorbachev's reform program and decentralisation of power to the Soviet republics. Citizens took to the streets to defend the White House, the then-residence of the Supreme Soviet of the Russian Federation, against the coup.

The Russian blogosphere - divided as usual - has been discussing the 20th anniversary of the Coup, an event which has numerous contesting interpretations. Will bloggers succeed in transferring the hope for democracy and freedom felt by the defenders of the government to the younger generation?

Boris yeltsin, in front of the white house, moscow, 19 august 1991. photo: itar-tass, wikipedia

Boris Yeltsin, in front of the White House, Moscow, 19 August 1991. Photo: ITAR-TASS, Wikipedia

Betrayal or democratic victory?

Detailed diaries of the Coup period have been shared online by oleg_kozyrev [ru], yustas [ru] (Sergey Yushenkov, whose father actively defended the White House), babushkinskaya [ru], hasid [ru], Adele Kalinichenko [ru] at, and others.

Mikhail Gorbachov, former president of the USSR, gave a detailed interview at [ru].

Boris Akunin, a famous writer, recollected [ru]:

Это один из самых важных моментов в моей жизни. Впервые, в тридцатипятилетнем возрасте, я понял, что живу дома, что это моя страна.
Августовские события 1991 года – единственное, за что наше поколение может себя уважать.
Больше, увы, пока хвастать нечем.

This was one of the most important moments in my life. For the first time, when I was 35, I understood that's my home, that's my country.
The August events of 1991 - they are the only thing our generation can be respectful of.
So far, alas, there's nothing [else] to be proud of.

At the same time, there were also those who supported [ru] the conspirators:

21 августа мне стало ясно, что мою страну захватили враги, в Кремле измена и надо уходить в партизаны. […] казалось, кроме нас троих измену в Кремле и вражескую оккупацию Родины никто не заметил.

On August 21 [the end of the Coup and the victory of pro-democracy forces] it became clear to me, that my country was conquered by the enemies, there's a betrayal in the Kremlin, and I should go guerrilla. […] It seemed, that except the three of us, no one had noticed the betrayal in the Kremlin and the enemy occupation of our Motherland.

Despite supporting the idea of the Coup, conservative user ros_sea_ru wrote [ru] he was proud to be with the people against the KGB, even the people ‘were wrong at that time.'

Blogger Hasid, wrote [ru] that 1991 was probably the only time, when Russia had a national idea:

Россия должна стать частью европейского пространства (не только в географическом, но и культурном, правовом и т.д. смыслах). […] В 1991 году эта идея была, её большинство вслух не могло сформулировать из-за многовековой атрофии голосовых связок, но внутри она жила. Что вот сейчас откроют границы, люстрируют вохру и туземных служителей колониальной фактории. Независимый суд, многопартийная система, ну и прочий базовый набор добродетелей белых людей.

[the idea was that] Russia should be the part of the European space (not only in terms of geography, but also culture, law, and other spheres). […] In 1991 there was this idea, but the majority couldn't formulate it due to many centuries of our vocal ligament atrophy, but inside this idea was alive. The idea that now the borders will be opened, the military guards and all officials of our colonial factory will be lustrated. Independent court system, multi-party system, and the following basic set of all proper virtues of ‘the white people.'

Generation gap - Important threat for the blogosphere

Russian bloggers from different political clusters of the blogosphere reflect on the August 1991 events almost every year, comparing the dramatic events with the contemporary political situation (see Global Voices reports from 2006 and 2007).

The reflections and recollections change from year to year, as does the overall discourse on the event. A survey [ru], conducted by the Levada Center since 1994, indicates that the perception of the Coup has significantly changed from a ‘routine power struggle episode' (the dominant interpretation in the 1990s) to a historical point ‘that had dramatic consequences for the country and its people' (see illustration below).

Reactions to august coup in russia, 1994-2011. source:, illustration: alexey sidorenko

Reactions to August Coup in Russia, 1994-2011. Source:, Illustration: Alexey Sidorenko

At the same time, it is only the educated and more professional minority (7-10 percent of the population) that supports the ‘democratic' version of the event; interestingly, this percentage was not that different in the 1990s - before the Internet was widely introduced.

The interpretation of the August Coup is also age-dependent. While for those bloggers who personally remember the events (and some of them were among the actual defenders of the White House), the failure of the coup was something to be proud of, it is likely that younger bloggers completely miss its historical importance.

Oleg Kozyrev mocked [ru] the contemporary ‘mythical' narrative of the August Coup actively pushed by propagandists, like Nikolay Starikov, one of the main ideologists of the pro-Kremlin ‘Nashi' youth movement (see his interpretation here [ru]):

Заботящиеся о стране патриоты из КГБ хотели спасти ее от развала. […] Именно поэтому в Москву ввели войска […]Но тут вмешались США. Они наняли Ельцина погубить СССР. […]Ельцин окружил Белый дом людьми, которых все три дня путча он постоянно обманывал.А потому путч как-то закончился и Ельцин захватил власть.Демократы тут же все разворовали и страна, буквально купавшаяся в роскоши до 1991 года вмиг опустела и обнищала.

KGB patriots that cared about the country wanted to save it from collapse. […] This is why they brought military forces to Moscow […] But then the United States intervened. They hired Yeltsin to destroy the USSR. […] Yeltsin surrounded the White House with the people whom he constantly fooled. And this is why the coup somehow ended and Yeltsin took the power. The democrats had immediately stolen everything and the country that was leading a life of luxury [e.g. see some pics of the 1991 situation here] in a moment became empty and poor.

Whatever discourse dominates online, some of the conspirators' ideas from 1991 are evident in 2011, as Andrey Malgin sadly noted [ru]:

Из Постановления № 1 Государственного комитета по чрезвычайному положению в СССР (19 августа 1991 г.):
4. Приостановить деятельность политических партий, общественных организаций и массовых движений.
8. Установить контроль над средствами массовой информации…

From the Decree No.1 of Government Committee of the Extraordinary Situation (GKChP) in USSR (August 19, 1991):
4. Stop the activity of political parties, civil society organizations, and mass movements.
8. Take control over the mass media…

August 18 2011


Russian telescope launch pulls national space program out of black hole - | 2011-07-19

The Zenit - 3F carrier rocket with the Spektr-R radio astronomy observatory aboard takes off from the Bakinour Cosmodrome.

Oleg Urusov/AFP/Newscom


Once it is fully operational, the new radio telescope will sync up with ground-based observatories to form the biggest telescope ever built. It will be known as RadioAstron, with a "dish" spanning 30 times the Earth's diameter. Experts say it will be able to deliver images from the remote corners of the universe at 10,000 times the resolution of the US Hubble Space Telescope.


"It's been planned since the 1980s, but has repeatedly fallen through for a variety of reasons. But now it's here, and we're bracing for all the new information it's going to deliver, especially about black holes," he says.

The space-based component is actually a small radio telescope, with a 10-meter dish that's far smaller than Earth-based radio telescopes, planted in an elliptical orbit about 340,000 kilometers (more than 212,000 miles) from Earth. But when its signals are combined with those of ground-based radio telescopes through a process known as interferometry, it effectively becomes one single telescope with a "dish" as large as the distance between its components, which will be able to deliver unprecedented pictures of mysterious cosmic phenomenon, such as quasars, pulsars, and supernovae.


Scientists from more than 20 countries will participate in RadioAstron's five-year mission, according to the Russian Space Agency.

Russia's space program fell on hard times after the collapse of the USSR 20 years ago, and even a few years ago appeared to be little more than a "space taxi" to ferry astronauts to and from the International Space Station.


Reposted bycygenb0ckylem235astronomygroupalphabetscience

In the West, the failure of the putsch is still considered to be the heroic victory of Boris Yeltsin and the Russian people over the last guard of the Soviet evil empire in the West. And there is no question that the coup touched off the peaceful collapse of one of the most heavily armed superpowers in the history of the world.  It also signalled the end of the Cold War and a period of US hyperpower status. But triumph of good over evil?  Well...

The Russian people certainly do not think so. A recent poll in Russia by the Levada center (July 15-19, 2011) reveals that an increasing number of Russians now view the failure of the August coup as "tragic news having disastrous consequences for the country." (up to 39% from 36% last year). The majority of others surveyed saw the coup as simply "a struggle for power at the highest levels of Russian government." Only 10% see the news as a victory for democratic revolution. 

As we approach the 20th anniversary of the Putsch, how should we understand these poll numbers?  Would the coup plotters have instigated the same reforms as Yeltsin and the other republic leaders?  Would they have spared Russia and the other Soviet republics the hyperflation and turmoil of the 1990s?



You find other entries in occasion of the 20th anniversary from the End of the Soviet Union on, here.
Putin Watcher: 20 Years Since the Fatal Blow to the Soviet Union | 2011-08-16
Reposted bycheg00 cheg00
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