inspiral + russia   239

On magnets or underground: how does the Russian anonymous marketplace work? – Political Critique
The stores leave ‘ready made treasures,’ which are laid out in advance in the city. People pass by these readily available stashes every day without noticing them. Electrical transformers, garages, window sills, cemeteries, parks, trees, basements, public toilets. The drugs are hidden under slabs, attached to magnets, buried in the ground, covered with leaves or with stones. When you make a purchase you can usually chose the place to receive your goods.

Once the payment has been processed, the buyer receives a description of the ‘treasure’s’ location as well as GPS coordinates and photos.  The ‘ready made treasure’ option allows you to receive an order as quickly as possible – sometimes it can take less than an hour between payment and receiving the ‘treasure’. Only small amounts are sold this way – no more than a few grams, depending on the substance.

Another option is to have the order delivered via a dead drop. This is used for large volumes of drugs and wholesales. Within 48 hours after the transaction has been accepted, the dead drop is made for the buyer. Most often, these take place far away from residential areas. Encrypted messages are used in communications between the dealer and buyer.
drugs  market  darkweb  TOR  RAMP  RussianAnonymousMarketPlace  Russia  PoliticalCritique  2018 
7 weeks ago by inspiral
What Can We Expect of Vladimir Putin When He Is Scared? | The New Yorker
But Putin also loves to be loved. The suppression of dissent in Russia will probably intensify in the wake of last weekend’s protests, but that will not satisfy him fully. It may secure his power, but it will not repair his numbers. Only war can do that. All he needs is a worthy enemy, and a fitting propaganda campaign, to take people’s minds off their worries and make them feel a part of something great. Expect Russia’s neighbors, once again, to pay for the Kremlin’s instability.
VladimirPutin  politics  dissent  totalitarianism  censorship  protests  internationalrelations  Russia  NewYorker  2018 
september 2018 by inspiral
Russia and the Menace of Unreality - The Atlantic
Ultimately, many people in Russia and around the world understand that Russian political parties are hollow and Russian news outlets are churning out fantasies. But insisting on the lie, the Kremlin intimidates others by showing that it is in control of defining ‘reality.’ This is why it’s so important for Moscow to do away with truth. If nothing is true, then anything is possible. We are left with the sense that we don’t know what Putin will do next—that he’s unpredictable and thus dangerous. We’re rendered stunned, spun, and flummoxed by the Kremlin’s weaponization of absurdity and unreality.
internationalrelations  informationwarfare  propoganda  VladimirPutin  Russia  TheAtlantic  2018 
july 2018 by inspiral
Russia’s Telegram ban is a big, convoluted mess - The Verge
Brute enforcement has taken major banks, online stores, and Viber calls offline
Telegram  mobilemessaging  censorship  review  critique  Russia  TheVerge  2018 
april 2018 by inspiral
Living with the ghosts of Maidan – POLITICO
Four years after its revolution, Ukraine is still wrestling with its past.
Ukraine  Russia  conflict  internationalrelations  review  Politico  2018 
march 2018 by inspiral
Jared Kushner Is China’s Trump Card | The New Yorker
How the President’s son-in-law, despite his inexperience in diplomacy, became Beijing’s primary point of interest.
JaredKushner  DonaldTrump  internationalrelations  politics  China  Russia  USA  NewYorker  2018 
january 2018 by inspiral
The Secret History of the Russian Consulate in San Francisco – Foreign Policy
The dynamics and methods they employ will necessarily change, these officials said, but San Francisco and Silicon Valley are simply too target-rich, too valuable, and too soft for them to cease activities here. The spy war will endure; the Russians will, over time, rebuild their networks, adjusting their activities to account for their lack of local diplomatic cover. Ultimately, the circumstances surrounding the closure of the San Francisco consulate are just one piece in a much larger, and far more shadowy, antagonism between the two nuclear superpowers. “The great game is upon us again,” one former intelligence official said to me. “San Francisco has always been a focal point for Russian interests. The work won’t stop.”
espionage  SanFrancisco  SiliconValley  Russia  USA  ForeignPolicy  2017 
december 2017 by inspiral
North Korea Is Playing a Longer Game Than the U.S. - Bloomberg
If we think through the North Korea nuclear weapons dilemma using game theory, one aspect of the problem deserves more attention, namely the age of the country’s leader, Kim Jong Un: 33. Because peaceful exile doesn’t appear to be an option -- his escaping the country safely would be hard -- Kim needs strategies for hanging on to power for 50 years or more. That’s a tall order, but it helps us understand that his apparently crazy tactics are probably driven by some very reasonable calculations, albeit selfish and evil ones.
internationalrelations  nuclearweapons  longterm  KimJongUn  NorthKorea  China  Russia  Bloomberg  2017 
october 2017 by inspiral
What Facebook Did to American Democracy - The Atlantic
And yet no one could quite put it all together: The dominant social network had altered the information and persuasion environment of the election beyond recognition while taking a very big chunk of the estimated $1.4 billion worth of digital advertising purchased during the election. There were hundreds of millions of dollars of dark ads doing their work. Fake news all over the place. Macedonian teens campaigning for Trump. Ragingly partisan media infospheres serving up only the news you wanted to hear. Who could believe anything? What room was there for policy positions when all this stuff was eating up News Feed space? Who the hell knew what was going on?
Facebook  politics  media  fakenews  AltRight  Breitbart  democracy  USA  Russia  TheAtlantic  2017 
october 2017 by inspiral
How Mikhail Gorbachev ended the cold war
The peasant boy turned Communist Party boss who liberated his people from 70 years of lies and buried the Soviet Union
MikhailGorbachev  profile  Glasnost  politics  history  Russia  Economist  2017 
september 2017 by inspiral
Russian Revolution - The British Library
From the fall of Russia’s last Tsar to the rise of the first communist state, discover how the seismic revolution of 1917 changed both a country and a world through expert articles and collection items.
history  Russia  exhibition  RussianRevolution  London  BritishLibrary  2017 
august 2017 by inspiral
The Trumps and the Truth - WSJ
Mr. Trump somehow seems to believe that his outsize personality and social-media following make him larger than the Presidency. He’s wrong. He and his family seem oblivious to the brutal realities of Washington politics. Those realities will destroy Mr. Trump, his family and their business reputation unless they change their strategy toward the Russia probe. They don’t have much more time to do it.
DonaldTrump  politics  internationalrelations  review  critique  USA  Russia  WallStreetJournal  2017 
july 2017 by inspiral
What Russian Journalists Think of How American Reporters Cover Putin and Trump | The New Yorker
The Russian media is under nearly omnipresent pressure from numerous entities: political operatives in the Kremlin, who tightly monitor what is said in the press about Putin and the myriad arms of the Russian state; media owners, who neuter coverage and readily get rid of overly ambitious reporters and editors; and financial constraints, namely a small advertising market and a tiny number of readers willing to pay for independent journalism. The result is that the space for independent, muckraking journalism has shrunk further. Yet, even given these many constraints, Russia is nevertheless home to a coterie of talented and self-motivated journalists, who produce work that is courageous and illuminating.
I spoke to more than a half-dozen of them, all of whom found themselves in some way bemused, frustrated, or disappointed in the way that the U.S. press has covered Putin and Russia—especially concerning the question of election interference—over the last months. On the whole, said Mikhail Zygar, a political journalist and the author of “All the Kremlin’s Men,” a well-sourced insider look at the cloistered world of Russian politics, the way the U.S. media has covered the Russia scandal has made “Putin seem to look much smarter than he is, as if he operates from some master plan.” The truth, Zygar told me, “is that there is no plan—it’s chaos.”
internationalrelations  espionage  politics  VladimirPutin  DonaldTrump  USA  Russia  NewYorker  2017 
july 2017 by inspiral
Russia's Cyberwar on Ukraine Is a Blueprint For What's to Come | WIRED
And the blackouts weren’t just isolated attacks. They were part of a digital blitzkrieg that has pummeled Ukraine for the past three years—a sustained cyber­assault unlike any the world has ever seen. A hacker army has systematically undermined practically every sector of Ukraine: media, finance, transportation, military, politics, energy. Wave after wave of intrusions have deleted data, destroyed computers, and in some cases paralyzed organizations’ most basic functions. “You can’t really find a space in Ukraine where there hasn’t been an attack,” says Kenneth Geers, a NATO ambassador who focuses on cybersecurity.
hacking  war  cyberwarfare  infrastructure  internationalrelations  Russia  Ukraine  USA  Wired  2017 
june 2017 by inspiral
How Russia Targets the U.S. Military - POLITICO Magazine
With hacks, pro-Putin trolls and fake news, the Kremlin is ratcheting up its efforts to turn American servicemembers and veterans into a fifth column.
espionage  socialmedia  military  Russia  USA  Politico  2017 
june 2017 by inspiral
How Russia Hacked Obama's Legacy
In its last year, the Obama administration had its eyes on burnishing the outgoing president’s legacy — and ignored the threat from an old foe.
elections  politics  DonaldTrump  HillaryClinton  hacking  BarackObama  Russia  USA  Buzzfeed  2017 
april 2017 by inspiral
How to Fight Back Against Russian Hacking - MIT Technology Review
Russia’s reinvention of war exploits old techniques for a new century. Open-source citizen investigators are fighting back.
Russia  internationalrelations  espionage  war  hybridwar  Bellingcat  TechnologyReview  2017 
april 2017 by inspiral
Emerging Consumer Survey 2017
The top three of this year's Emerging Consumer Survey are India, Indonesia and China. On the other end of the spectrum are Russia, Turkey and Mexico. On top of providing a close look at the emerging markets, the report examines current trends of particular relevance to them, such as e-commerce, aware consumerism, and the growing popularity of domestic brands.
economy  consumerspending  mobile  disposableincome  property  health  diet  food  drink  ecommerce  mobilecommerce  smartphones  localism  Indonesia  Brazil  SouthAfrica  Mexico  India  Russia  China  Turkey  CreditSuisse  2017 
april 2017 by inspiral
Inside the Hunt for Russia's Most Notorious Hacker | WIRED
The gang’s strategy represented an evolutionary leap in organized crime: Now they could do everything remotely, never touching a US jurisdiction.
hacking  botnet  Zeus  GameOverZeus  JabberZeus  crime  USA  Russia  Wired  2017 
march 2017 by inspiral
How The Americans Became the Most Relevant Drama on TV
The Americans tells the story of a Russian espionage operation so mind-boggling it seems absurd — or at least it did until, well, you know. The show, which stars Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys as Elizabeth and Philip Jennings, a seemingly normal 1980s suburban couple who are actually super-competent Soviet spies, debuted in 2013. Critics have long praised the crackling verisimilitude of its depiction of a tense marriage, while forgiving its pulpy espionage-plot contrivances. A fantastically successful foreign infiltration of Washington? Who would believe that?
TheAmericans  television  JacobWeisberg  JoeWeisberg  interview  Russia  USA  espionage  Vulture  2017 
march 2017 by inspiral
Killer, kleptocrat, genius, spy: the many myths of Vladimir Putin | World news | The Guardian
Russia’s role in Trump’s election has led to a boom in Putinology. But do all these theories say more about us than Putin?
VladimirPutin  Russia  profile  review  Guardian  2017 
february 2017 by inspiral
10 of the best things to do in St Petersburg | Travel | The Guardian
It is 100 years since the Russian Revolution started in St Petersburg. These tips from The Calvert Journal’s new app explore the city’s fascinating history as well as its contemporary youth culture
guide  tourist  StPetersburg  Russia  CalvertJournal  Guardian  2017 
february 2017 by inspiral
A Comparative Guide to Russia’s Use of Force: Measure Twice, Invade Once
This is part and parcel of a Russian strategy defined by reasonable sufficiency, compelling an outcome with the least amount of force required. It contrasts sharply with working to achieve battlefield dominance and overmatch at the outset. Perhaps, this is best understood for what it is not. The Russian approach is the polar opposite of the Weinberger Doctrine, which Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger laid out in a famous 1984 speech. Weinberger’s six conditions for the use of force included, “if we are unwilling to commit the forces or resources necessary to achieve our objectives, we should not commit them at all,” and the “need for well-defined objectives and a consistent strategy is still essential.”
war  conflict  strategy  Russia  Crimea  Ukraine  Syria  WarontheRocks  2017 
february 2017 by inspiral
Moscow nightlife: how a new wave of DIY club is breathing life into the capital’s party scene — The Calvert Journal
Russia's recent economic hardships have had an energising effect on Moscow's clubbing scene, as lower rents and fewer international artists have created the perfect conditions for a homegrown scene to thrive
music  dancemusic  clubbing  tourist  Moscow  Russia  CalvertJournal  2017 
february 2017 by inspiral
Damning reports emerge of Trump campaign's frequent talks with Russian intelligence | US news | The Guardian
The Russian influence scandal engulfing the White House deepened dramatically on Tuesday night with reports that some of Donald Trump’s campaign aides had frequent contact with Russian intelligence officials over the course of last year.

A report in the New York Times came nearly 24 hours after the national security adviser, Michael Flynn, was forced to resign over conversations with the Russian ambassador to Washington and misleading statements about them to the press and vice-president Mike Pence.
DonaldTrump  elections  Russia  USA  internationalrelations  Guardian  2017 
february 2017 by inspiral
Donald Trump is a disaster for Brexit
The reality is that the UK is now faced with a US president who is fundamentally at odds with the British view of the world. For all the forced smiles in the Oval Office last week, the May government certainly knows this. For political reasons, Boris Johnson, the British foreign minister, is having to talk up the prospects of a trade deal with Mr Trump.
Brexit  internationalrelations  USA  UK  EuropeanUnion  DonaldTrump  Russia  FinancialTimes  2017 
january 2017 by inspiral
A bit of context on Trump, NATO, and Germany - Marginal REVOLUTION
I strongly favor NATO and I don’t think you can trust the Russians with just about anything, or for that matter make much of a deal with them. I’m with Mitt Romney on all of this, as I’ve been saying for years.

That said, I feel some of the recent discussions on Trump’s pronouncements have been a bit kontextlos. I would suggest this wee bit of background history:
GerhardSchroder  internationalrelations  VladimirPutin  DonaldTrump  Germany  Russia  USA  NATO  author:TylerCowen  MarginalRevolution  2017 
january 2017 by inspiral
Cyberwar Has Gone Public, and That's Dangerous - Bloomberg View
This kind of disorientation appears to be the goal of whoever is behind the activity. If all this is the handiwork of Russian intelligence services, they are using a number of carefully constructed public personae to communicate with the public, each with a specific style and even a specific set of typical mistakes in their English usage, and each with a hacker's typical disdain for website design. This appears meant to create the impression of a number of discrete hacking groups or lone hackers bragging about their exploits.

The approach the U.S. has adopted in response is the exact opposite: It has "government" written all over it, from the ominous leaks to major news organizations to the refusal to reveal anything about sources and methods and the promises to retaliate in an undisclosed way.

The resulting visual is of a cop chasing a bunch of colorfully dressed punks. It's easy to lose sight of what's actually going on. Both sides in this particular battle of the cyberwar appear to have a good understanding of each other's tools and methods. The tools that have been revealed and analyzed so far are meant for intelligence gathering, not the disruption of critical infrastructure. They have been used quietly for years, evolving to fit the expanding needs and beat new defenses. Now that knowledge is in the open, used for threats and innuendo-filled media reports. This is no longer cyber-espionage, it's a publicity war.
espionage  hacking  Russia  USA  internationalrelations  Bloomberg  2017 
january 2017 by inspiral
‘The last five years have not been great at Greenpeace’ | Environment | The Guardian
With former Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson poised to lead US foreign policy, activists like Peter Willcox, skipper of the Rainbow Warrior, are needed more than ever. But are they losing their nerve?
Greenpeace  PeterWillcox  environmentalism  review  Russia  USA  petroleum  Guardian  2017 
january 2017 by inspiral
How We Fool Ourselves on Russia - The New York Times
If he can’t easily build Russia up, he can take the United States down a few pegs, with his characteristic tactical agility and willingness to play rough and take risks. If he can’t have a deferential government in Kiev, he can grab Crimea and try to engineer the next best thing, a dysfunctional Ukraine. If he can’t abide the risk of regime upheaval in Syria, he can flex Russia’s military muscle, emasculate the West, and preserve Bashar al-Assad atop the rubble of Aleppo. If he can’t directly intimidate the European Union, he can accelerate its unraveling by supporting anti-Union nationalists and exploiting the wave of migration spawned in part by his own brutality. Wherever he can, he exposes the seeming hypocrisy and fecklessness of Western democracies, blurring the line between fact and fiction.
internationalrelations  USA  Russia  review  NYTimes  2017 
january 2017 by inspiral
The Fable of Edward Snowden - WSJ
As he seeks a pardon, the NSA thief has told multiple lies about what he stole and his dealings with Russian intelligence.
EdwardSnowden  espionage  Russia  USA  WallStreetJournal  2016 
january 2017 by inspiral
Intent on Unsettling E.U., Russia Taps Foot Soldiers From the Fringe
At a time when Russia’s relations with the West, or at least with established parties there, have soured dramatically over Syria, Ukraine and accusations of interference on all sides, Mr. Putin has enjoyed an extraordinary run of apparent good luck, as exemplified by the surprise election victory of Donald J. Trump, who has repeatedly voiced admiration for the Russian leader. Pro-Russia candidates won presidential elections recently in Bulgaria and Moldova, and France’s National Front, which received bank loans worth nearly $12 million from Russian banks, is now a serious contender for the French presidency next year.
internationalrelations  espionage  Russia  Estonia  Hungary  Europe  EuropeanUnion  review  critique  NYTimes  2016 
december 2016 by inspiral
World War Three, by Mistake - The New Yorker
Harsh political rhetoric, combined with the vulnerability of the nuclear command-and-control system, has made the risk of global catastrophe greater than ever.
nuclearweapons  internationalrelations  war  history  Russia  USA  review  author:EricSchlosser  NewYorker  2016 
december 2016 by inspiral
Key findings on international migration | Pew Research Center
Millions of people have migrated from their homes to other countries in recent years. Some migrants have moved voluntarily, seeking economic opportunities. Others have been forced from their homes by political turmoil, persecution or war and have left their countries to seek asylum elsewhere.

To mark International Migrants Day this Sunday, here are our key findings about international migration trends.
migration  refugees  statistics  research  USA  global  Europe  Germany  Russia  UK  UAE  Canada  France  Australia  Spain  Italy  India  Ukraine  Thailand  Pakistan  Kazakhstan  PewResearch  2016 
december 2016 by inspiral
10 top tips from our Moscow correspondent | Travel | The Guardian
The Russian capital is full of cultural high points, from galleries and parks to its restaurants, bars and baths. Our writer picks the must-sees plus his own favourites
tourist  guide  Russia  Moscow  Guardian  2016 
november 2016 by inspiral
Russian propaganda effort helped spread ‘fake news’ during election, experts say - The Washington Post
The flood of “fake news” this election season got support from a sophisticated Russian propaganda campaign that created and spread misleading articles online with the goal of punishing Democrat Hillary Clinton, helping Republican Donald Trump and undermining faith in American democracy, say independent researchers who tracked the operation.
politics  elections  PropOrNot  USA  Russia  internationalrelations  webjournalism  fakenews  review  WashingtonPost  2016 
november 2016 by inspiral
Someone Is Learning How to Take Down the Internet - Schneier on Security
Over the past year or two, someone has been probing the defenses of the companies that run critical pieces of the Internet. These probes take the form of precisely calibrated attacks designed to determine exactly how well these companies can defend themselves, and what would be required to take them down. We don't know who is doing this, but it feels like a large nation state. China or Russia would be my first guesses.
DDoS  security  hacking  espionage  China  Russia  review  author:BruceSchneier  Schneier  2016 
october 2016 by inspiral
A New Weapon in Russia’s Arsenal, and It’s Inflatable - The New York Times
The idea behind maskirovka is to keep the enemy guessing, never admitting your true intentions, always denying your activities and using all means, both political and military, to maintain an edge of surprise for your soldiers. The doctrine, military analysts say, is in this sense “multilevel.” It draws no distinction between disguising a soldier as a bush or a tree with green and patterned clothing, a lie of a sort, and high-level political disinformation and cunning evasions.
maskirovka  misinformation  conflict  war  Russia  NYTimes  2016 
october 2016 by inspiral
The Rise And Fall Of Deutsche Bank’s “Wiz” Kid
Mastermind or scapegoat, Tim Wiswell was at the heart of the bank’s $10 billion mirror-trade scandal.
DeutscheBank  fraud  banking  TimWiswell  Russia  Bloomberg  2016 
october 2016 by inspiral
'Beyond a Reasonable Doubt,' Russians Hacked DNC, Analyst Says - ABC News
It was the keyboards that gave them away. Russian hackers, typing on keyboards configured in Cyrillic and doing it in a time zone consistent with Moscow, created the “eloquent” code that breached the computers of the Democratic National Committee, according to a top analyst who investigated the hack.

“This was absolutely not an amateur operation … When you look at the totality of all those pieces and you put them together, it kind of paints a really good picture of who the actor was,” Michael Buratowski, the senior vice president of cybersecurity services at Fidelis Cybersecurity, told ABC News Monday. “I come from a law enforcement background, and it’s [about being] beyond a reasonable doubt. And I would say it’s beyond a reasonable doubt … I’m very confident that the malware that we looked at [was from] Russian actors.”

“When we looked at the malware, we found that it was very, very eloquent in its design as well as its functionality — very advanced, not something that script user or lower level hacker would be able to really generate or customize,” he said.
Democrats  hacking  Russia  security  WikiLeaks  ABCNews  2016 
august 2016 by inspiral
How Putin Weaponized Wikileaks to Influence the Election of an American President - Defense One
Sanders’ religious convictions against him in the South, and attempts to strong-arm media outlets. In other words, they reveal the Washington campaign monster for what it is.

But leave aside the purported content of the Wikileaks data dump (to which numerous other outlets have devoted considerable attention) and consider the source. Considerable evidence shows that the Wikileaks dump was an orchestrated act by the Russian government, working through proxies, to undermine Hillary Clinton’s Presidential campaign.

politics  Democrats  elections  Wikileaks  Russia  espionage  hacking  DefenseOne  2016 
july 2016 by inspiral
It's Official: Hillary Clinton Is Running Against Vladimir Putin - The Atlantic
Donald Trump, should he be elected president, would bring an end to the postwar international order, and liberate dictators, first and foremost his ally Vladimir Putin, to advance their own interests. The moral arc of the universe is long, and, if Trump is elected, it will bend in the direction of despotism and darkness.
DonaldTrump  VladimirPutin  internationalrelations  politics  Russia  USA  NATO  TheAtlantic  2016 
july 2016 by inspiral
Trump & Putin. Yes, It's Really a Thing
To put this all into perspective, if Vladimir Putin were simply the CEO of a major American corporation and there was this much money flowing in Trump's direction, combined with this much solicitousness of Putin's policy agenda, it would set off alarm bells galore. That is not hyperbole or exaggeration. And yet Putin is not the CEO of an American corporation. He's the autocrat who rules a foreign state, with an increasingly hostile posture towards the United States and a substantial stockpile of nuclear weapons. The stakes involved in finding out 'what's going on' as Trump might put it are quite a bit higher.

There is something between a non-trivial and a substantial amount of circumstantial evidence for a financial relationship between Trump and Putin or a non-tacit alliance between the two men. Even if you draw no adverse conclusions, Trump's financial empire is heavily leveraged and has a deep reliance on capital infusions from oligarchs and other sources of wealth aligned with Putin. That's simply not something that can be waved off or ignored.
DonaldTrump  VladimirPutin  Russia  USA  elections  politics  critique  TalkingPointsMemo  2016 
july 2016 by inspiral
False Flags: The Kremlin’s Hidden Cyber Hand | Observer
The Islamic State’s hacking army doesn’t actually work for ISIS—It’s part of the secret Russian online espionage effort against the West
ISIS  CyberCaliphate  espionage  Russia  hacking  falseflag  Observer  2016 
june 2016 by inspiral
Reviled by Many Russians, Mikhail Gorbachev Still Has Lots to Say - The New York Times
In recent months, various prominent public figures, including at least one close associate of President Vladimir V. Putin, have insisted that Russia officially proclaim Mikhail S. Gorbachev a criminal for abetting the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Some regularly demand that Mr. Gorbachev be put on trial for the events, not least, as one member of Parliament put it, to expose the operations of a “fifth column” within Russia.

Yet when the organizers of Mr. Gorbachev’s 85th birthday extravaganza in March approached the landmark Hotel Ukraine about a banquet, its owners refused payment after they learned that it was the former leader being honored.
MikhailGorbachev  politics  Russia  VladimirPutin  BorisYeltsin  review  NYTimes  2016 
june 2016 by inspiral
The Soviet internet - Marginal REVOLUTION
There is a new and intriguing book out by Benjamin Peters called How Not to Network a Nation: The Uneasy History of the Soviet Internet, which outlines exactly what it claims to.  Here is one introductory excerpt:

In late September 1970, a year after the ARPANET went online, the Soviet cyberneticist Viktor Glushkov boarded a train from Kiev to Moscow to attend what proved to be a fateful meeting for the future of what we might call the Soviet Internet.  On the windy morning of October 1, 1970, he met with members of the Politburo, the governing body of the Soviet state, around the long rectangular table on a red carpet in Stalin’s former office in the Kremlin.  The Politburo convened that day to hear Glushkov’s proposal and decide whether to build a massive nationwide computer network for citizen use — or what Glushkov called the All-State Automated System (OGAS, obshche-gosudarstvennyi avtomatizirovannaya system), the most ambitious computer network of its kind in the world at the time.  OGAS was to connect tens of thousands of computer centers and to manage and optimize in real time the communications between hundreds of thousands of workers, factory managers, and regional and national administrators.  The purpose of the OGAS Project was simple to state and grandiose to imagine: Glushkov sought to network and automatically manage the nation’s struggling command economy.

They failed!  The author blames this not on backward technology, but rather “entrenched bureaucratic corruption and conflicts of interest at the heart of the system…”

Anyone interested in the history of the internet, comparative systems, or the history of the Soviet Union should read this book.
Internet  history  Russia  BenjaminPeters  author:TylerCowen  MarginalRevolution  2016 
may 2016 by inspiral
The gangsters on our doorstep | Felicity Lawrence | UK news | The Guardian
From the late 1980s on, new technology allowed employers to eliminate much of the financial risk from their end of the chain. Supermarkets, for example, only reorder stock when a customer buys an item and its barcode is scanned, generating an instruction to their suppliers to replace it by the next day. Orders can double or halve within 24 hours, so workers to process and pack the goods are called in at short notice. This reduces costs and increases profits, since businesses no longer have to keep inventory or pay for full employment. Instead they have outsourced labour provision to agents or gangmasters. Agriculture and food processing pioneered this lean approach to business, but its zero-hours practices have spread to other sectors – to care homes, catering and food service, hotel work, cleaning, construction, and personal services such as nail bars and car washes.
agriculture  employment  exploitation  industrialagriculture  EastAnglia  UK  Latvia  Lithuania  Russia  review  critique  Guardian  2016 
may 2016 by inspiral
The day we discovered our parents were Russian spies | World news | The Guardian
For years Donald Heathfield, Tracey Foley and their two children lived the American dream. Then an FBI raid revealed the truth: they were agents of Putin’s Russia. Their sons tell their story
espionage  illegals  KGB  USA  Russia  TheAmericans  personalaccount  Guardian  2016 
may 2016 by inspiral
The Battles of Chernobyl - The New Yorker
The late sociologist Ulrich Beck wrote that risk can help human societies rediscover the importance of collective action and responsibility. But risk is a tricky thing to wrap one’s head around, especially once the fires have gone out. Does Chernobyl indict an entire industry, or does it show that, even at its worst, it isn’t that bad? The truth seems to be somewhere in the middle. Chernobyl was a disaster, but it was not the apocalypse. It was a highly specific event—specific to the reactor and to the Soviet state that it was conceived in. But it should give us pause to reflect generally on the high costs of technological mismanagement and deferred maintenance. It is easy to dismiss a few thousand extra cancers, out of the hundreds of thousands of cancers caused by other sources, when they are not in the bodies of our loved ones; it is easy to say that the Exclusion Zone is relatively small when it is on the other side of the world. These battles of Chernobyl are still being waged, but there may be no winners in the war.
Chernobyl  disaster  history  review  Russia  NewYorker  2016  nuclearenergy 
may 2016 by inspiral
| Freedom House
The democracy scores and regime ratings are based on a scale of 1 to 7, with 1 representing the highest level of democratic progress and 7 the lowest. The 2016 ratings reflect the period January 1 through December 31, 2015.
freedom  democracy  ranking  Russia  Kazakhstan  Kyrgyzstan  Uzbekistan  Tajikistan  Turkmenistan  Azerbaijan  Armenia  Georgia  Ukraine  Moldova  Romania  Serbia  Albania  Macedonia  Montenegro  Slovenia  Croatia  Hungary  Slovakia  Poland  Belarus  Lithuania  Latvia  Estonia  FreedomHouse  2016  totalitarianism 
april 2016 by inspiral
A Fake Interview With Ukraine’s ‘President’ Points to Deeper Intrigue - The New York Times
The intrigue began last week when The New York Times received a letter on official-looking stationery marked “President of Ukraine.”

The letter was addressed to the paper’s executive editor, Dean Baquet (though he was referred to as Mr. Baquet Dean), and complained about an editorial that faulted President Petro O. Poroshenko for failing to make good on pledges to prosecute corruption. The letter was forwarded to the newspaper’s editorial board, which writes editorials.
PetroOPoroshenko  Ukraine  Russia  fraud  letter  review  NYTimes  2016 
april 2016 by inspiral
Story of cities #20: the secret history of Magnitogorsk, Russia's steel city | Cities | The Guardian
Designed for Stalin as the world’s first completely planned city, Magnitogorsk has yet to confront its controversial past – from the forced labour that helped build it in record time, to the severe pollution that has plagued its residents
Magnitogorsk  history  totalitarianism  labour  environment  pollution  Russia  Stalin  Guardian  2016 
april 2016 by inspiral
The Art of Reading Russian Obituaries - The New York Times
The equivalent in contemporary Russia is an obituary that says that a man was found slain in his own apartment and there was no sign of forced entry. When this happens to someone well-known enough to warrant numerous written remembrances, the writers usually refer not to a killing but to a “tragic death” — as though it were not a criminal but a personal trait that caused the person’s demise. What they mean is that the deceased was gay and apparently died at the hands of someone he brought home.
LGBT  homosexuality  homophobia  crime  murder  Russia  journalism  NYTimes  2016 
april 2016 by inspiral
Panama Papers: a massive document leak reveals a global web of corruption and tax avoidance - Vox
But they also offer the most granular look ever at a banal reality that's long been hiding in plain sight. Even as the world's wealthiest and most powerful nations have engaged in increasingly complex and intensive efforts at international cooperation to smooth the wheels of global commerce, they have willfully chosen to allow the wealthiest members of Western society to shield their financial assets from taxation (and in many cases divorce or bankruptcy settlement) by taking advantage of shell companies and tax havens.

If Panama or the Cayman Islands were acting to undermine the integrity of the global pharmaceutical patent system, the United States would stop them. But the political elite of powerful Western nations have not acted to stop relatively puny Caribbean nations from undermining the integrity of the global tax system — largely because Western economic elites don't want them to.
PanamaPapers  offshore  moneylaundering  corruption  MossackFonseca  Panama  review  Russia  VladimirPutin  Iceland  Pakistan  Ukraine  Vox  2016 
april 2016 by inspiral
Revealed: the $2bn offshore trail that leads to Vladimir Putin | News | The Guardian
A massive leak of documents shines new light on the fabulous fortunes of the Russian president’s inner circle
PanamaPapers  VladimirPutin  Russia  corruption  offshore  moneylaundering  Panama  Guardian  2016  MossackFonseca 
april 2016 by inspiral
The villain gap: Why Soviet movies rarely had American bad guys · For Our Consideration · The A.V. Club
Here, one runs the risk of casting Soviet media in too positive a light, because the climactic scene of the same film, Meeting At The Elbe, depicts Americans beating up a black soldier—one of their own—in the American-occupied zone of postwar Berlin. (One uncomfortable truth of the Cold War is that it sometimes put the Soviets on the right side of history—in support of civil rights in America, for instance—for less-than-noble reasons.) And yet the Americans still aren’t villains; they’re victims. Both sides of the Cold War often depicted the other’s citizenry as victimized, but the Soviet Union elevated it into an art, much in the way that the American mainstream developed the Soviet super-villain into a fetish object. Instead of portraying Americans as eroticized torturers, inhuman strongmen, or sinister ringleaders, the few Soviet movies that do pit Soviet and American characters against each other mostly portray Americans as misled or misinformed.
film  movies  ColdWar  Russia  USA  comparison  politics  review  AVClub  2016 
april 2016 by inspiral
A hollow superpower | The Economist
Eventually, deep Russian decline will limit its aggression. For the time being, however, a nuclear-armed Mr Putin is bent on imposing himself in the old Soviet sphere of influence. In Mr Obama’s last year as president, Mr Putin, fresh from Syrian success, could yet test the West one more time.
internationalrelations  politics  VladimirPutin  review  Russia  Syria  Ukraine  critique  Economist  2016 
march 2016 by inspiral
The Rise and Fall of the Putin Propaganda Czar Who Met a Violent End | TIME
The marks of violence on the body of Mikhail Lesin have renewed suspicion that the reasons for his death lead back to his powerful associates in Moscow
MikhailLesin  murder  assassination  VladimirPutin  politics  totalitarianism  review  critique  Russia  Time  2016 
march 2016 by inspiral
Can virtual interactions replace “being there”? | GfK Insights Blog
Nearly a quarter of the online population across 22 countries believes that virtual interactions with people and places can be as good as being there in person.

Opportunities for virtual interactions are increasingly common in daily life – be it video-conferencing at work, ‘face-timing’ or instant chat via a smartphone, or exploring cities, restaurants or museums using Google Street view or 3D-Panorama. But can virtual interactions with people and places ever be as good as being there in person?

We put this question to internet users across 22 countries – and 23 percent firmly agree it can1 be as good, compared to 15 percent who firmly disagree[1].
communication  virtual  virtualreality  Japan  Netherlands  CzechRepublic  Sweden  Belgium  Australia  Canada  Germany  HongKong  France  UK  Turkey  Brazil  Mexico  China  Russia  USA  Argentina  Spain  Italy  SouthKorea  Poland  country  comparison  GFK  2016 
february 2016 by inspiral
Location, location, location: Global house prices | The Economist
THE Economist tracks the health of housing in 26 markets around the world, encompassing a population of over 3 billion. Prices are now rising in 21 of these markets at a median pace of 4.7% a year. China’s housing market is one of only five countries in our index where prices are falling, joining Singapore and a trio of euro-zone countries—France, Greece and Italy. The government has been trying to boost the market over the past ten months which is now slowly responding.

To assess whether house prices are at sustainable levels, we use two yardsticks. One is affordability, measured by the ratio of prices to income per person after tax. The other is the case for investing in housing, based on the ratio of house prices to rents, much as stockmarket investors look at the ratio of equity prices to earnings. If these gauges are higher than their historical averages then property is deemed overvalued; if they are lower, it is undervalued. According to our measure, property is more than 30% overvalued in six of the markets we track, notably in Australia, Britain and Canada.

Explore the data in our interactive chart above (updated on October 6th 2015) and try to spot which market is looking most vulnerable. See full the article on global house prices
housing  prices  realestate  country  comparison  interactiveinfographic  Australia  Belgium  Brazil  Canada  China  France  Germany  Greece  HongKong  India  Ireland  Israel  Italy  Japan  Mexico  Netherlands  Russia  Singapore  SouthAfrica  SouthKorea  Spain  Sweden  Switzerland  Turkey  UnitedStates  UK  Economist  2016 
february 2016 by inspiral
The Collapse of the Putin Regime in Russia | Foreign Affairs
Russian President Vladimir Putin used to seem invincible. Today, he and his regime look enervated, confused, and desperate. Increasingly, both Russian and Western commentators suggest that Russia may be on the verge of deep instability, possibly even collapse.
Russia  politics  economy  VladimirPutin  revolution  ForeignAffairs  2016 
january 2016 by inspiral
Digital in 2016
We Are Social's comprehensive new Digital in 2016 report presents internet, social media, and mobile usage statistics and trends from all over the world. It contains more than 500 infographics, including global data snapshots, regional overviews, and in-depth profiles of the digital landscapes in 30 of the world's key economies. For a more insightful analysis of the numbers contained in this report, please visit
internet  mobile  mobileinternet  ecommerce  socialcommerce  socialmedia  mobilemessaging  Facebook  WhatsApp  FacebookMessenger  Google+  Twitter  Instagram  Skype  LinkedIn  Pinterest  Viber  smartphones  PCs  tablets  gaming  ereader  wearables  mobilevideo  mobilegaming  mobilebanking  maps  Africa  Europe  Americas  Asia  MiddleEast  Argentina  Australia  Brazil  Canada  China  Egypt  France  Germany  HongKong  India  Indonesia  Italy  Japan  Malaysia  Mexico  Nigeria  Philippines  Poland  Russia  SaudiArabia  Singapore  SouthAfrica  SouthKorea  Spain  Thailand  Turkey  UAE  UK  USA  Vietnam  statistics  penetration  WeAreSocial  2016 
january 2016 by inspiral
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