Common Sense Conspiracy gets visits from unique visitors from all over the world. This is a fact that we are very proud of, and we often review our statistics to see how we are performing internationally. That’s why one big gaping hole in our coverage area was obvious. Despite thousands of hits from countries all over the globe, we have never had a visitor from Russia. That’s right, not one. This led us to investigate Russian Internet censorship, and not surprisingly, it is very real.
While Russia is not the worst when it comes to Internet censorship (China and Iran have them beat), they are probably the best at doing so strategically. For example, China and Iran blocks content very directly. For example, they may pick an entire genre of content and not allow its citizens to view anything, regardless of the actual subject matter. Russia doesn’t do this. Instead, they employ what is referred to as “second generation” censorship. Instead of directly blocking sites, they simply institute regulations to put the burden on the Internet sites themselves. For example, many Internet sites may be required to register with the Russian government to have their content considered. Otherwise, they are blocked outright from the beginning. Such tactics are often touted as anti-terrorism tools.
Russia also reportedly uses a “third generation” tactic; they have assembled a team that actually floods the Internet with disinformation to help dispel negative messages and intimidate opposition. So, basically, Russia tries to preserve its image by not blocking Internet sites directly, but indirectly. China and Iran exhibit more of an iron-fist, but in the end the result is the same.
Common Sense Conspiracy hates that we cannot reach our would-be Russian fanbase, but we don’t plan to petition the Kremlin anytime soon.
(Editor’s Note: The CSC got 25 hits from Russia almost immediately after posting this. Breakthrough?)