Joanna Stingray’s new book Stingray in Wonderland was recently released by the Russian publisher AST Nonfiction. Stingray is a highly significant figure in the history and culture of Soviet rock: she smuggled unofficial recordings of Soviet rock bands out of the USSR and introduced Americans to Russian underground culture. Then, she came back to her musician friends in Leningrad, bringing equipment and instruments along with her. In 1986, Stingray released the record Red Wave in the United States. It included recordings of Kino, Akvarium, Alisa, Strannye Igri, and other legendary bands, and its release essentially enabled the West to discover Soviet rock. Stingray spoke with Meduza about her new book.
Russian police have arrested Pussy Riot member Veronika Nikulshina. Pyotr Verzilov, another member, told Mediazona about the incident.
An international arbitration court in The Hague has ordered the Russian government to pay the Ukrainian company Ukrnafta $44.4 million in compensation for seizing 16 of the company’s Crimean gas stations when the peninsula was annexed in 2014.
Moscow’s Tagansky Court has turned down Mediazona’s lawsuit against the Russian government’s censorship agency, Roskomnadzor. A source in the human rights organization Agora told Meduza about the lawsuit’s failure.
Alexander Zharov, the head of the Russian government’s censorship agency, said that a year of attempts to block the social app Telegram had resulted in the application operating more slowly within Russia’s borders.
Alexander Zharov, the head of Roskomnadzor, told RNS that the law on the isolation of the RuNet, whose enforcement his agency would lead, would be dormant should it take effect. The potential for its activation would stimulate companies that are not located under Russia’s jurisdiction to comply with Russian laws, including censorship regulations, in their online operations. The Internet isolation law passed its final reading in the State Duma on April 16. It will fall to the Federation Council’s consideration on April 22.
The State Duma has given its final approval to a bill that would enable the isolation of the Russian segment of the Internet. On April 22, the Federation Council will consider the bill, and upon approval, it will be sent to President Vladimir Putin for his signature. If the RuNet is ultimately isolated from international severs, just a small part of the World Wide Web will be based in Russia. About six million websites, less than 2 percent of the total number of domain names, are registered under the .ru and .рф domain zones. The RuNet’s readership is around 90 million people out of almost four billion Internet users around the globe. According to Cisco, only 3 percent of global Web traffic reached Russia in 2017.
The State Duma has approved the third and final reading of a bill “providing for the save and sustainable functioning” of the Internet on Russian territory.
Since last summer, two state enterprises have been exchanging property in Moscow: the All-Russia State Television and Radio Broadcasting Company (VGTRK) and the “Izvestia” publishing house (which no longer has any connection to the newspaper or website that bears the same name). The main asset being transferred from VGTRK to Izvestia is the Broadcasting and Sound Recording State House (GDRZ), which was traded for the building that houses the studio for a national TV talk show hosted by Olga Skabeeva and Evgeny Popov. Since last August, Russia’s musical public has been petitioning the country’s leaders, warning that GDRZ’s new owners plan to liquidate the unique studios that recorded generations of classical musicians, closing down a space where two national orchestras rehearsed until recently. The head of the Izvestia publishing house is 38-year-old Ekaterina Smirenskaya, whose father is business partners with Vladimir Dyachenko. According to an investigative report released two years ago by Alexey Navalny’s Anti-Corruption Foundation, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev sometimes uses Dyachenko’s name when placing orders through foreign online stores.
Russian president Vladimir Putin has signed an order allowing for “up to 30 military servicemembers” to be deployed to the Central African Republic (CAR) for the purpose of supporting UN peacekeeping missions. The document states that communications officers, staff specialists, and military observers could be among those deployed.