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Oleg Kozlovsky on how Russia uses "hate crime" law to silence and imprison cyber dissidents

Article by George W. Bush Presidential Center April 19, 2010 //   2 minute read

Speaking from Russia via skype -(his trip to Dallas was stopped by Nature, not government) Oleg summarized Russian activities against bloggers and dissident activity online. The Russian government, in Oleg’s view, is simply “smarter” than the official censors in China and Iran. They stop traffic to dissident web sites and blogs not by banning them, but by quietly hiring hackers to pull the web sites down behind the scenes and unofficially, through cyberattacks “that are quite expensive” to undertake. The other tool is human rights legislation. The incitement of hate against a given social group is a crime in Russia (as it is in many countries). However in Russia, social groups may be described in a much freer way. So bloggers of Oleg’s acquaintance have received years-long sentences for inciting hatred against the police, against local government officials, and the like. Both techniques have been quite successful in stifling cyber dissent – a true public/private initiative on the part of the Government of Russia.