‘For whatever reason in the cosmos, I’m connected to Russia again.’. Joanna Stingray brought Soviet rock to the West. We asked her about her old friends and her new book.

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.

Head of Russia’s censorship agency analogizes new Internet isolation bill and nuclear weapons

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.

Russia’s government is moving closer to Internet isolation. How much of the Web does the Russian segment take up?

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.

‘Musicians remain silent and afraid’. How Russia’s legendary Sound Recording State House changed hands, and became linked to a presidential agency and Dmitry Medvedev’s sneakers

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.