Date: 2017-04-06 09:08 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] penta
Random dreamwidth person here. I think if you read you'll understand why I am not posting this on LJ.

The way I understand it, you do not survive in a communications related business in Russia unless you have executives in key positions (including on the board of directors) who are in what is known as the "active reserve" of the FSB (the Federal Security Service, the "internal" parts of what used to be the KGB, responsible for basically every bit of dissident repression you can think of) and/or the SVR (the Foreign Intelligence Service, the "external" parts of what used to be the KGB). "Active Reserve" is a weird term that doesn't *quite* translate to English, but what it means essentially is that the officer is paid and employed by SUP/LJ, but remains at the same time an active, serving FSB officer....With all the obligations that implies. For once, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Active_reserve_(KGB) actually supplies a pretty good overview. Basically, if you do not have board members and other key employees who are active reserve, you are not going to be allowed to operate legally as a Russian corporation within the Russian Federation in that industry.

What this means: Unless you are stupid or desperate, you are not going to use SUP/LJ to organize resistance to the Putin regime. SUP/LJ *answers* to the Kremlin. Absolutely everything a Russian national says on LJ of political interest can plausibly be presumed to be recorded (and indexed and filed away by) the FSB. That's all going by Russian law as it stands.

Does this mean random Russian LJ user who whines about Putin is going to be disappeared? That's not likely. Not impossible if there are other reasons to disappear them, but not likely. But does it also mean you as a foreign national could quite plausibly get them in a whole heap of trouble quite by accident? Yes. Recall that the Russian definition of treason is almost-absurdly broad and may quite legitimately be construed to mean "if we don't like your blog we can lock you up".

Meanwhile, because DW is hosted in the US, on US servers, the FSB can't get at their contents in a risk-free manner. Does not make it impossible, but makes it a lot riskier for them. Russians can actually post...I will not say anonymously or even psuedonymously on DW (at least not in ways that would defeat state power - if the Russians want to hack DW enough they will find a way, but that way will not be cost-free or risk-free for them, and if they get caught Bad Things could happen on a geopolitical scale), but the barriers to breaking down pseudonyms for the Russian government are higher when those pseudonyms are on DW.

I don't know if this helps you make a decision one way or the other, but that's the sticky thing about this situation. It's forcing us (users who might get involved with things Russian) to resurrect old rules about Russian state power, international relations, etc. that we thought we had been safely able to put away with the end of the USSR. They don't always mesh well with the internet, not in a comfortable way at least. My personal decision is to never go back to LJ - let them delete my LJ, there's nothing there that matters overmuch - and to be very very careful about what I talk with Russian nationals in Russia about online, even in English (I do not speak or read Russian). Not for my sake; I'm fine. For theirs, just in case things get even more closed-off there.
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