Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Government Censorship News

Russian Software Piracy Crackdown Restricts Free Speech 175

Posted by Zonk
from the amazing-coincidence dept.
reporter writes "According to a report recently filed by the Washington Post, the Kremlin has finally begun to crackdown on software piracy ... with a twist. The Russian state agency is targetting political enemies with claims of piracy, including independent news media, political parties, and private advocacy groups. In particular, 'the newspaper Novaya Gazeta, one of the last outposts of critical journalism in Russia, suspended publication of its regional edition in the southern city of Samara on Monday after prosecutors opened a criminal case against its editor, alleging that his publication used unlicensed software.'" This doesn't even take into account our recent discussion of the Kremlin's grip on internet access in that country.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Russian Software Piracy Crackdown Restricts Free Speech

Comments Filter:
  • Oh no!!! (Score:3, Funny)

    by CaptainPatent (1087643) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @03:45PM (#21353509) Journal

    Nothing for you to see here. Please move along.
    They've already struck /. too!
  • great (Score:4, Interesting)

    by JustNiz (692889) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @03:47PM (#21353525)
    It'll just drive more people to switch to Linux.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      If you think OSes really matter, get a clue.

      The way they deal with things: Tell us what you were doing, or you're going to a Siberian gulag. Or we'll kill you.
      • Actually, it can be an issue.

        Go into any mid-sized company today and claim they're pirating. They're guilty. I dare say that and I know in 99% of cases I will be right.

        Given the way companies buy computers and software licenses, i.e. often separate from one another, they're prone to actually not paying for a license or two, or for using the wrong software on a machen, or to update a machine without having the license. Not because they want to "save", but simply because it requires a lot of oversight and car
    • Re:great (Score:4, Insightful)

      by wizardforce (1005805) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @04:18PM (#21353959) Journal
      In this case, I don't think it mattered what OS was being used, they'd find something to charge him with.
      • Re:great (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Chandon Seldon (43083) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @04:28PM (#21354123) Homepage

        You're still a bit better off if they had to fabricate a charge than if you were really guilty of something as easy and obvious to demonstrate as software piracy. Looking at it from another angle, this is one of the reasons why it's socially detrimental to have poorly enforced laws against common activities (whether it be piracy, drug possession, low speed limits, whatever) - it gives abusive authorities the ability to selectively enforce those laws against people they don't like for some reason.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by ShieldW0lf (601553)
          Looks like the socialists are using the capitalists own weapons against them.

          Cool.

          If the opposition in Russia was actually opposing an oppresive regime, I might be more concerned.

          Being that they're a bunch of crackpots funded by foreign interests who would like nothing better than to use these very same oppressive laws against the population of Russia for private gain, I'm actually rather amused.

          Go Putin!
          • Putin is not a socialist. Putin's policies are best described as authoritarian statist capitalism. If that doesn't ring a bell, I'll say that in fewer words: fascism.
      • by LingNoi (1066278)
        Actually they'd probably charge the company without realising they used Linux then they'd be screwed in court.
        • Re:great (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Beardo the Bearded (321478) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @05:46PM (#21355171)
          You think these charges would go to court?

          These charges are to put the dissenters out of business. I suppose that's better than being assassinated, but you've got to realize that most of the world does not operate the way the Western World does. If you criticize most governments, you die. We take for granted that we can say what we want about the people in charge. In reality, most people get killed. That makes martyrs, so the best bet is to discredit those who oppose you first. "Yeah, they were totally unscrupulous. Look at all the pirated software they're using. You can't believe a thing these guys say."

          Look at Tienanmen Square - the Chinese murdered thousands of protesters, and now it's illegal to even mention it. I know, they aren't Russian. All the Russians do is inject you with plutonium, set off car bombs, and steal your computers. That's if you're a reporter!

          The US may suck sometimes, but at least you've got a shot at a trial. Gitmo notwithstanding, of course, but imagine if reporting on Gitmo got you sent there for life.
          • by Cyno (85911)
            If you criticize most governments, you die.

            And you're A-okay with this? Why do we support doing business with these governments? Fascism is not something to be ignored. It will come back to bite us sooner than we think. Unfortunately we have to wait for the next 9/11 because nobody wants to talk about the last one. If you want to do something about THIS problem RIGHT NOW then demand a new criminal investigation into 9/11. And support ae911truth.org.
    • by superwiz (655733)
      What makes you think they were not using Linux? In a totalitarian state you are guilty because you were accused.
    • by Nephrite (82592)
      Not really. As laws don't really work in Russia, they may confiscate servers with false suspicion of piracy and then return them (of course) but down time is too expensive to afford, so people just give bribes or shut down. And installing Linux doesn't protect you. There is anecdotal evidence the cops said "There is no 'My computer' icon on your desktop, so the software is pirated" and confiscated the computer. And yes, your guess is right, they had Linux with KDE on that box.
      • by Hatta (162192)
        Not really. As laws don't really work in Russia, they may confiscate servers with false suspicion of piracy and then return them (of course) but down time is too expensive to afford, so people just give bribes or shut down.

        How is that different than America?

        There is anecdotal evidence the cops said "There is no 'My computer' icon on your desktop, so the software is pirated" and confiscated the computer. And yes, your guess is right, they had Linux with KDE on that box.

        Obviously if there's no "My computer" i
        • Re:great (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Grishnakh (216268) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @05:33PM (#21355029)
          Not really. As laws don't really work in Russia, they may confiscate servers with false suspicion of piracy and then return them (of course) but down time is too expensive to afford, so people just give bribes or shut down.

          How is that different than America?


          That's a very good point: it's no different from America at all.

          Of course, did anyone ever say that America was a country where people had freedom, and the laws actually worked? Any such person is a liar or an idiot.
  • Anybody surprised? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Creepy Crawler (680178) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @03:48PM (#21353549)
    Ever since Gorbachev helped end the Cold War (and the USSR), the Russians have tried to fill a void left by that power vacuum.

    Unfortunately, many ex-KGB people are out there vying for power towards the "good old days". Turns out that someone is Putin right now. Power and threat of assassination should be enough to shut up critics.. or eat a dust-grain of Po.

    Could the Russians have a great state? Absolutely... but not with the KGB still distributively in power.

    Ad absurdum "In Soviet Rusia jokes"... because thats where they're headed back to.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Turns out that someone is Putin right now.

      Yesterday, nobody was Putin. Tomorrow, someone else will be Putin ;)
    • by TheNarrator (200498) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @04:03PM (#21353775)
      Two high level defectors in the 1980s Anatoliy Golitsyn (Author of "The Perestroika Deception) and Jan Sejna (Author of "We Will Bury You") have written books and tried to tell the west that Perestroika was not genuine reform, but just a strategic retreat planned by the KGB (now GRU) that would help the Soviets catch up to the west technologically and economically after which they would return back to dictatorship and imperialism.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        Was massive land loss part of their equation?

        What is it now? 16 countries? And they're pissing them off at bat.

        If anything they have the most to thank towards Global warming.. nobody wants Siberia. However, there is a treasure trove of minerals that can be extracted when the permafrost thaws.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by ericspinder (146776)

          Was massive land loss part of their equation?
          Maybe, I believe that it's a well known fact that colonies and occupation cost a ship load of money. A country is much better off dominating economically than militarily.
        • by ultranova (717540)

          If anything they have the most to thank towards Global warming.. nobody wants Siberia. However, there is a treasure trove of minerals that can be extracted when the permafrost thaws.

          One would imagine it being easier to mine and transport vast amounts of heavy minerals from solid ground than methane-spitting swamp, but maybe that's just me.

      • by Zontar_Thing_From_Ve (949321) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @05:03PM (#21354635)
        but just a strategic retreat planned by the KGB (now GRU) that would help the Soviets catch up to the west technologically and economically after which they would return back to dictatorship and imperialism.

        If this were true, which I doubt, then it came with a very high price - the permanent breakup of the USSR and the loss of 14 Soviet Republics (Republic no. 15 is Russia - there were 15 Republics in the USSR), some of which aren't interested at all in being vassals to Mother Russia - Lithuania, Estonia, Latvia, Georgia, Ukraine and Moldova. I get the impression that Armenia and Azerbaijan are somewhat indifferent to Russia and the 5 "Stan" countries are interested in Russia only in so far as they can get something (ie. money) out of it. Only Belarus remains loyal to Mother Russia and got paid back earlier in the year by Mother Russia telling it that it better pay up what it owed on natural gas and oil that came from Russia or there would be some, ahem, "unpleasantness".
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by n dot l (1099033)

          If this were true, which I doubt, then it came with a very high price - the permanent breakup of the USSR and the loss of 14 Soviet Republics (Republic no. 15 is Russia - there were 15 Republics in the USSR), some of which aren't interested at all in being vassals to Mother Russia.

          Meh. The Russians annexed that land once, they probably think they can do it again.

          Although, on second thought, I don't know why they'd even bother declaring a new USSR when they can just as easily control their puppet states through other means, like economic pressure (Russia now supplies a third of Europe's oil and natural gas), "diplomacy" (like the recently ratified withdrawal from the CFE treaty and other scare tactics), and covert means (the KGB always was good at bribing and blackmailing others into

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by NeutronCowboy (896098)
        I doubt that the Perestroika was a planned retreat by the KGB. I do agree, however, that the KGB people are still smarting from what they saw as the loss of their position as one of the superpowers in the world. As is a large chunk of Russia. I believe that the Perestroika movement was genuine, but it ultimately didn't have enough support across a large enough swath of the population. The ex-KGB people though do have that support.

        Russia is already a dictatorship (when was the last open election in Russia?)
      • by rtb61 (674572)
        The reality to that is of course, since when in any country are the rich and greedy not seeking exactly that. They want complete freedom to lie cheat and steal, and then they want complete power to control every one else.

        So whether it be Russia, USA or China, it really makes not difference. Democracy is the means by which they are controlled ie, caught, prosecuted and imprisoned for their basic inherent corruption (it's just a default part of the psychological make up, the only moral limit to their action

      • by S3D (745318)
        How anyone could find this post "interesting" boggle my mind. Author have no clue what he/she/it is talking about. GRU [wikipedia.org] is not KGB now. GRU is Soviet/Russian military intelligence. It's was created in 1918. Modern name for KGB is FSB [wikipedia.org]. Of cause you can not expect much from the person whose the only source of knowledge about modern Russia is Anatoliy Golitsyn [wikipedia.org], pal of Jeffrey Nyquist [wikipedia.org], who think that Free Democracies of the West Should Nuke Russia.
    • by Stavr0 (35032)

      Ad absurdum "In Soviet Rusia jokes"... because thats where they're headed back to.
      Don't you mean "In Putinist Russia ... " ?
      • No, they're the same thing.

        Really, the whole Communism thing never really took hold there. If it did, there would have been no real "leader" to begin with. Their whole country was based yet on another monarch with absolute power. They just set forth communism for non-governmental workers. The poor share all their money (which = poor).
      • by Nephrite (82592)
        No difference. The rulers are all the same, they just changed coats. Yesterday they were communists today they are democrats, but the laws and the practices stay the same.
    • by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @05:06PM (#21354677)
      Actually, it's not just the ex-KGB people who are pining for the "good old days". It's a large chunk of Russia. Yes, there is a significant (even if badly beat up) opposition. However, there is a much larger contingent of ardent Putin supporters. His 80% approval rating is probably inflated, but his real numbers aren't all that far off.

      It's been said that the prerequisite for Democracy is a strong middle-class. Guess what - Russia went straight from Feudalism with a complete lack of middle-class to Communism, with its similar lack of a strong middle-class. This means that the political tradition in Russia is one of central strong men (and one woman) who have near absolute power over everything. I don't see that changing anytime soon - the Enlightenment period is long past, and the current global atmosphere does not support its revival.
  • Kind of funny (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TheMeuge (645043) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @03:50PM (#21353581)
    It's pretty funny that they're using this particular excuse to persecute political opposition. So I guess that's what how far they've come in the last 50 years - from malicious prosecution under the guise of national security, to malicious prosecution under the guise of protection against piracy.

    Well... at least they're not being cliché.
    • Actually, what they have learned is to turn the West's (particularly the US) propaganda machine against itself. Quite brilliant, I have to admit. Anybody who underestimates Putin with respect to his goals and his determination is a fool (this means you, Shrubby).
    • by adminstring (608310) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @06:40PM (#21355935)
      It seems that you have tried to use the character &#233, otherwise known as "Freedom E." Freedom E has been blocked by the national censorship proxy server in order to protect children from terrorists. If you persist in attempting to use this character, you will be sent to Guantanamo for re-education regarding which Extended ASCII characters conform to the President's English, namely &#153, &#169, &#174, and, especially important during the holiday season, &#134. Good day :-).
      • You know, I had to think about it quite a while to figure out how the Unicode extended control characters "START OF SELECTED AREA" () and the unmarked control character U+0099 ((TM)) were related to your joke, until I tried to decode their byte values with the Windows CP1252 character set. While I might think that using the Windows character set goes well in line with your joke, it was quite some bit of work to find out what they really meant.

        For anyone else left wondering, codepoint 134 in CP1252 is U+20

        • Sorry about the character-set confusion. here [idevelopment.info] is an extended ASCII chart of the type I was referring to in GP. There are other possible sets, such as the IBM PC [tbi.net] set, which many of us probably fondly remember as the graphics blocks from the great 1980s adventure game Rogue. [mobygames.com] Ahh, memories!
  • by KazerSoza (727306) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @03:50PM (#21353585)
    In Soviet Russia the software pirates you!
  • ...political pirates pwn j00. Yarrr!!!!!
  • Smart (Score:5, Insightful)

    by faloi (738831) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @03:54PM (#21353631)
    As pointed out in the article, they're killing two birds with one stone. They get to appear more pro-active against piracy after all the requests from Western governments to try to stop piracy, and they get to silence critics. Criticism from Western governments could be met with appeals for funding if they want them to come up with a better way to stop piracy. Speaking of money, there might be some money changing hands from major software vendors to support anti-piracy measures.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by timeOday (582209)
      Unfortunately selective enforcement is nefarious because it's so hard to prove. Just as a black person here in the US.
    • by elrous0 (869638) *
      Headline tommorrow "Notorious Software Pirate Benazir Bhutto Arrested in Pakistan."
    • by n dot l (1099033)

      Speaking of money, there might be some money changing hands from major software vendors to support anti-piracy measures.
      Heh. I can see the headlines now: "Microsoft Funding Gulag", shortly followed by "China Opens Laogai System to Foreign Investment". Cue the flying chair jokes...
  • by Speare (84249) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @03:57PM (#21353677) Homepage Journal

    When I was working on a MMORPG years ago, this sort of behavior was a worry. It was a much smaller, less consequential worry, but it was there. Player A would call the company, and whine to mommy that Player B was breaking the rules. We had to be careful about policies so we didn't just disable Player B prematurely during the investigation, or it would become a new dynamic in the game. Want to invade a guild hall? Make sure their best players are disabled due to investigations.

    It didn't catch on, but at the time I called this a DOS by TOS: a denial of service by (ab)using the terms of service; the terms of service can be a weapon if the environment is competitive enough.

    • Re: (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by cliffski (65094)
      surely that only works once though? player A can only cry wolf once before he loses credibility?
      personally, I'm so sick of software piracy that I don't really care if it represents infighting in the russian corporate elite. as long as they do something about the blatmnt software piracy from that country. many big companies i know who sell online entirely blacklist the country by IP because of the extent of fraud and piracy from there.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by evann (667628)
        Within the ranks of AOL staff, accounts which had overhead abilities could suspend other accounts. These suspended accounts then have to call AOL and talk about the infraction, hear the warning or whatever, and then they get the account back.

        Phishing and trojans back in the days I am talking about..(95-2000? maybe they have the same setup) were pretty easy to pull off. You could easily get the password for one of these accounts and go ahead and start suspending many other accounts. There was even a hierar

  • by Bananatree3 (872975) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @04:02PM (#21353753)
    The suggestive powers of all the thousands of "in soviet russia" jokes are now taking their toll. Now see what you've done, Slashdot? You've brought back the Iron Curtain! All hilarity aside, this is not a good trend at all. It started good in the 90's, but I'm not like this trend
  • by padonak (687721) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @04:10PM (#21353855)
    At the risk of gaining a few more /. "freaks", I have to point out that this post is just on of the many recent submissions by reporter [slashdot.org], most of which are simply anti-russian FUD.
    He even expressed [slashdot.org] his desire to have a dedicated anti-russian section here.
    While bashing a Cold War enemy is certainly fun, I don't see much "news for nerds" here. Keep /. politics focused on U.S., please.
    • The piracy angle would make this /.-worthy whatever country it was.
    • I think this is decent information that /. deserves to see, if for no other reason then it's pertinent to submitter's motivation.
    • by Clandestine_Blaze (1019274) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @04:38PM (#21354275) Journal

      While bashing a Cold War enemy is certainly fun, I don't see much "news for nerds" here. Keep /. politics focused on U.S., please.
      Wait, are you against FUD in general, or are you against FUD only when it applies to topics related to Russia? We cannot simply replace one "FUD" with another. (Emphasis placed as I am not claiming that the topic is FUD.)

      The topic of the submission was "Russian Software Piracy Crackdown Restricts Free Speech". Again, emphasis mine. If we get rid of this article on the grounds that it is not news-for-nerds, then we might as well dismiss every article ever posted on /. that is related to the RIAA, MPAA, P2P, and File sharing.

      Also, Slashdot has a worldwide readership. It would be a folly to filter out every topic that does not relate to the U.S. Regardless how how you may feel about the foreign news, worldwide political events will affect people in the States as much as anywhere else. For instance, there are plenty of foreign companies that do business in Russia. If any one of them ever use their position as a pulpit to disagree with the Kremlin, then they too may get a knock at the door for software piracy.

      Lastly, you claim this article is FUD, as you say everything Reporter [slashdot.org] posts is. I don't see anywhere in your post your rebuttals or WHY you claim that it is FUD. I even read the original Washington Post article that this post linked to, and it seems pretty clear that Russia is only selectively enforcing copyright laws against organizations that have spoken out against the government.

      That's not anti-Russian FUD, it's reality! Please explain to us why it is FUD. And saying "Because it is anti-Russian" doesn't cut it.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by padonak (687721)

        Wait, are you against FUD in general, or are you against FUD only when it applies to topics related to Russia?

        I'm against FUD in general. I've hit the "200 friends/foes" limit because of this.

        The topic of the submission was "Russian Software Piracy Crackdown Restricts Free Speech".

        Every couple of weeks there are articles in russian press about police raids and confiscations of counterfeit CDs. I don't see any of these news here on /. But when the "free press" (which BTW is just as corrupt and self-involved as the ones they bash) is concerned, suddenly there's an article in WP and a helpful submission of our own "reporter".

        If any one of them ever use their position as a pulpit to disagree with the Kremlin, then they too may get a knock at the door for software piracy.

        No, they'll first get a visit from the Tax Police, you don't know much about bu

    • by Sciros (986030)
      FUD? Hahaha please! Fear maybe, Uncertainty no way, Doubt no how. This is Russia we're talking about. And I can't believe that in providing a link to reporter's past comment you dwell on his saying there's enough bad stuff going on in Russia to warrant a separate news section for it, disregarding the focus of the comment which was to tell of a specific human rights violation the Russian government was guilty of.

      Basically you are trolling.
      • by padonak (687721)
        Ha.
        This is Russia we're talking about.
        So does this automatically gives justification to putting bullshit on the front page?
        disregarding the focus of the comment which was to tell of a specific human rights violation the Russian government was guilty of
        It seems that EVERYTHING the guy posts is related to "human rights violations" in Russia. I'm just pointing out that he floods the site with political news, part of which may be even true (but again, we only know about this from Washington Post), but are
        • by Sciros (986030)
          Well for starters folks have already replied to you pointing out that the Washington Post article *is* relevant to Slashdot since it regards software piracy. And the link you provided was to a comment, and those can be as irrelevant as anyone wishes. If they're too irrelevant, they get modded "Offtopic" anyway so you don't have to worry about it.

          As for "putting bullshit on the front page," I suppose you can take that up with the Washington Post, heh. Either it's true or it's not, and the theme is software p
    • um...there are a load of slashdot readers who aren't from the U.S...so um...we should keep the politics section focused on the U.S. why?
    • They aren't anti-Russian, they're anti-Putin. Let's not get to the level of insane Bushites who label any anti-Bush sentiment as anti-Americanism, shall we?
  • 1) Put together an organization that sells branded software for cheap
    2) Record customer data in the invoice
    3) Sell data to government
    4) Close up shop
    5) Government prosecutes customer for piracy
    6) Customer uses invoice as evidence
    7) Prosecution cites evidence that said organization does not exist
    8) Customer goes to jail due to lack of evidence on their part
    9) Profit!

    Just don't try it on the Mafia.
  • communist leaders use random current events to purge enemies-of-the-state. really? i am sure stalin is turning over in his grave.
    • You do realize that Russia is a federation [cia.gov], with the dominant party [russiaprofile.org] being fairly progressive, judging from its homepage.

      However, this doesn't change the fact that Putin is an autocratic little bastard with lots of support by the general population. This is not a return to Stalinist ideology. This is a return to good old-fashioned tsarist imperialism and global power.
  • by Orig_Club_Soda (983823) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @04:27PM (#21354111) Journal
    They opposed the Iraq War to maintain their grip on the regional oil market, fund North Korea's nukes, fund Iran's nukes... They are against George Bush. How can Russian government be in the wrong!?
    • Just because you're against something that is wrong doesn't make you right. For reference, see our policy of destroying liberty to fight terrorism. Just because I'm against the former doesn't mean I'm for the latter. The world isn't black and white. Sometimes, it's just black and black.
  • by metoc (224422) on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @04:35PM (#21354209)
    So when the USA starts using vague negative labels like pirates or terrorists, it is easy for foreign government to use them.

    Standard political tactics, label people you don't like with them too.

    • Yes, and the USA reaction to 9/11 was a carte blanche to Putin to do anything he wants in Checnya. Just remind that the enemy are "terrorists", and hint at the potential links to al-Qaeda, and voila, the USa has a new ally in the War on Terror.

      What's sad is that those claims eventually turned out to be self-fulfilling prophecies. With all moderate Chechen leaders killed in fighting, the religious extremist party got into power, and established real contacts with al-Qaeda and other foreign Islamic terroris

  • by Anonymous Coward
    "Ever since Gorbachev helped end the Cold War (and the USSR), the Russians have tried to fill a void left by that power vacuum."

    Gorby helped end the cold war, what? Are you on crack?

    This is exactly the revisionist liberalism that is pervasive today, crack smoking liberal delusion depicting the soviets or russians, whatever they are calling themselves today as anything but adversarial.

    2 words for you liberal geek dopes, RONALD REAGAN
    • You know I happen to agree with you in general that Ronald Reagan was instrumental in ending the cold war.
      The way you couched this however, just makes you seem like a twit.
      Yes the Soviet economic system was collapsing and the USSR would have failed eventually, but it could have been a lot uglier.
      Reagan essentially called the bluff, and Gorbachev folded. It could have been a great deal worse.

      However, when you start going into juvenile hyperbole with statements like "crack smoking liberal delusion" and "liber
    • It's not easy for me to say something positive about Reagan, but this much is true. He managed to put enough pressure on the Soviets to keep up to give the system its final shove over the edge.

      Gorby actually wanted to save the falling system. He wanted to reform it and revamp it to make it more productive and "continue the revolution". Gorbachev was a Communist and IIRC still is. But the people already had so much steam pent up that was trying to break free against the oppression that, when he gently lifted
      • Gorbachev was a Communist and IIRC still is.
        No. Here [wikipedia.org]'s what he's doing today as a politician.
      • by Catbeller (118204)
        The Soviet Union died because it drained its resources with a gigantic military machine; that was happening long before one senile mean-spirited old actor pretended to be President. What put the nail in their coffin was...

        Afghanistan. You know, the place we pretend we're not occupying? They spent themselves to death trying to block the rise of.... wait for it... Islamic fundamentalism. Seems they were right, but the solution of shooting all the rebels didn't work out.

        Would the Soviet Union had died if we h
  • This has been mentioned in the past by Patrick Ball (see second page) [aaas.org] and others as an excuse for human rights violations and a need for human rights agencies or pretty much anyone to move to open source. They'll find some other excuse, sure, but hopefully every little bit of additional freedom helps.
  • by tjstork (137384) <todd@bandrowsky.gmail@com> on Wednesday November 14, 2007 @05:00PM (#21354609) Homepage Journal
    Let the events in Russia be a lesson to those left wingers that would have the federal government impose socialism, and to those right wingers who would have the federal government impose religion.

    Every federal law has to be viewed as a potential for enslavement, another excuse for a would be dictator to trounce freedom. Those who are afraid of the government while Bush is in office, or if Hillary or Obama were elected, need to really ask, why do we have to have a government that -anyone- is afraid of.

    The best federal government is the one where it doesn't matter which political party runs it.
    • Seriously. This line alone deserves it:

      The best federal government is the one where it doesn't matter which political party runs it.
    • by dvdeug (5033)
      The only reason the Russian government needs these laws as excuses is because other countries with strong federal governments are glaring at them. You don't need a complex system of federal law to shoot someone in the head and throw their body into the dumpster.

      Furthermore, what difference does it make whether it's federal or not? Federal is an artifact of our system, and many people have been harassed by selective enforcement of purely local law.

      Why do we have a government that anyone is afraid of? Because
  • ...is that most Russians don't seem to care that their freedoms and rights are eroded away by Putin, as long as Motherland Russia's economy is looking strong.
    • Berthold Brecht wrote in his Threepenny Opera "Erst kommt das Fressen, dann die Moral" (food comes first, morals later). When you're struggling on a daily base, you don't care too much about freedom.

      That's what made Hitler possible in Germany (hi Godwin). That's also a general development you can observe whenever times get rough. In general, you'll notice two tendences. First of all, people will not care about freedom, environment or education. That's a "luxury" you start to ponder when you're fed and shelt
      • Berthold Brecht wrote in his Threepenny Opera "Erst kommt das Fressen, dann die Moral" (food comes first, morals later). When you're struggling on a daily base, you don't care too much about freedom.

        It's more interesting than that. The "common folk", for the most part, don't care that much about Putin - they are certainly not the ones to show "strong support" (unless forced to, i.e. for government workers: "Tomorrow we all go to a demonstration in support of the President; if you do not wish to go, you can

        • Well, just like in most countries. The average Joe Worker doesn't care too much about politics. First of all, he has other day to day problems to care about, and second, he's used to being milked by whoever sits on the helm.

          Who cares about politics, for very real monetary reasons rather than being manipulated and agitated by propaganda from various sides, are those that actually benefit from having the "right" politician in charge.
    • most Russians don't seem to care that their freedoms and rights are eroded away by Putin
      We didn't really have that many, to be honest. Do you seriously think there was no political persecution in Yeltsin's time? There certainly is more of that now, but the precedent was set long before. We got rid of the symbols of Communist times, but the shackles were never truly discarded.
  • These days its very hard to know if even western media tells the truth. I really do not swallow things just because its in western media any more than i trust for your favourite state controlled press. So much of what has been reported by western media in later years have been refuted a bit later as just plain lies. The US govt seems hellbent on having as many enemies as possible and one way of ensuring that is to paint any adversery or competing country as evil. The reason they want enemies, or more exactl
    • Maybe all that's left are primary sources. Perhaps trusting the media in general has now become impossible.
      I think that would be a fabulous development, if people accessed primary sources more (or became primary sources) the world would have a great deal more informed opinions to choose from rather than the same old crap repeated endlessly.
  • Books, music and movies play a huge role in defining popular culture and currently US government and big companies have a virtual monopoly on shaping it. Some day Michael Moore's film studio will receive a call from Homeland security office to remove his films from circulation as they help terrorists and communists by undermining war effort and encouraging americans to visit Cuba. With all popular formats - DVD, HD, digital downloads - now covered by DRM, there will be no legal way for supporters to continu
  • U.S. Federal Prosecutors serve "at the pleasure of the President". If he thinks that the prosecutors aren't investigating the opposition aggressively enough, he can fire them and appoint replacements who will. And it's all legal.

    I'm not saying that two wrongs make a right, but those who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. Y'all might want to take out a 0 point refi and upgrade to at least a wood frame... :)
    • This power has existed, in one form or another, since the Constitution was ratified. That Bush is willing to use it reflects badly on him, of course, but it's not as if he's stepping outside his Constitutional bounds. As it is, his Attorney General was ultimately forced out of office, and not purely by the opposing party's cries of foul (there were a number of Republicans who found Gonzales' antics distasteful as well). As well, while Congress does not have direct control over members of Cabinet, the fac
  • This is Russia we are speaking about here, i dont believe this is a right that they currently have.
  • I predict it'll take a minimum of 50 years before Russia even starts resembling anything like a Western democracy. Right now, on can say they went from Stalinism to Putinism, and are practically a petrostate, with no hope of regaining the technological edge they had, because of their bandit-capitalistic ways.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MightyMartian (840721)

      predict it'll take a minimum of 50 years before Russia even starts resembling anything like a Western democracy. Right now, on can say they went from Stalinism to Putinism, and are practically a petrostate, with no hope of regaining the technological edge they had, because of their bandit-capitalistic ways.

      I'm going to go out on a limb and state that I don't think Russia will ever be a liberal Western-style democracy. It won't be the quite the dictatorship that the USSR was, nor will it be quite as author

  • In soviet russia, ...ah, fuck it.
  • OK....this is (Soviet) Russia...and Putin is the guy that keeps blathering on about Soviet Era "achievements", putting dissidents in mental institutions, having reporters and foreign nationals killed (we all know it).
    So um...who's surprised about this?...
    anybody?...anybody at all?
    You in the back, you're surprised?
    Oh...you were just stretching...
    ok.
    well I guess nobody's surprised.

    Not to be a jackass to the people getting shafted by the Czar here, but if you switch to FOSS Putin can't level that shit against

In every non-trivial program there is at least one bug.

Working...