From Ukraine to Georgia to Russia, the Internet Breaks the Information Rules of the Old USSR

Posted December 5th, 2013 at 9:35 pm (UTC+0)
38 comments

Leonid from Lviv traveled halfway across Ukraine to demonstrate in favor of Ukraine moving closer to the European Union. AP Photo: Efrem Lukatsky

Leonid from Lviv traveled halfway across Ukraine to demonstrate in favor of Ukraine moving closer to the European Union. AP Photo: Efrem Lukatsky

KYIV — In August of last year, Mikhail Saakashivili was cruising to what looked like an easy election victory. Today, he travels Europe, cut loose from Georgian politics after one decade as President.

What made the difference?

Just before last year’s parliamentary elections, video clips circulated like wildfire on the Internet showing Georgian prison guards sodomizing prisoners.

Two weeks ago, Ukraine’s President Viktor Yanukovych seemed to be weathering protests over his decision to back away from signing a free trade pact with Europe.

Then, all of a sudden, 1 million protesters were on the streets. They moved like a human river through Kyiv, the nation’s capital.

What made the difference?

Video clips had circulated like wildfire of riot police clubbing peaceful protesters in the pre-dawn darkness.

In the pre-dawn darkness of Nov. 30, rriot police used tear gas and clubs to clear Kyiv's Maidan or Independence Square. Photo: AP/Sergei Chuzatkov

In the pre-dawn darkness of Nov. 30, rriot police used tear gas and clubs to clear Kyiv’s Maidan or Independence Square. Photo: AP/Sergei Chuzatkov

In the old days – three years ago – prison guards could sodomize prisoners and riot police could savagely attack sleeping protesters — and get away with it.

Now, everyone has a mobile phone with a camera.

And that is changing the political rules.

Within hours of the riot police attack on protesters, Ukrainian journalist Mustafa Nayyem posted on YouTube a video of the riot police rioting. Within 48 hours, the clip had been viewed more than 780,000 times. Literally overnight, a Sunday afternoon protest march that was expected to draw 10,000 people, drew one million.

But Sunday night, Ukrainian authorities were still on autopilot, still playing by the old rules. Riot police rioted again, whacking everyone in sight, included 43 journalists.

This violence generated a fresh round of videos, a fresh round of outrage, and an opposition movement that dug in its heels in a fortified downtown encampment.

I caught up with Nayyem on Wednesday and asked him what had changed.

Afghan-Ukrainian journalist Mustafa Nayyem put out the first call for protesters on Facebook. Later he posted a police brutality video on YouTube, drawing almost 800,000 views in 48 hours. VOA Photo: James Brooke

Afghan-Ukrainian journalist Mustafa Nayyem put out the first call for protesters on Facebook. Later he posted a police brutality video on YouTube, drawing almost 800,000 views in 48 hours. VOA Photo: James Brooke

He said the conflict in Ukraine is between the Soviet-era TV generation and today’s Internet generation.

“It is not a conflict between West and East,” he said referring to Ukraine’s rough linguistic divide, between Ukrainian speakers in the West and Russian speakers in the East. “It’s between the new generation and old generation.”

Nayyem said that President Yanukovych, aged 63, believes that by controlling television and newspapers, he controls the thinking of the nation’s “Soviet generation.”

“But if you cannot hide things anymore,” Nayyem continued. “Even if you try on TV, the Internet will show it. This gap between TV and reality does not work in favor of Yanukovych. This gap works against Yanukovych. It does not work against people because people know everything.”

Gromadske.tv (Public TV) and Spilno.tv (Together TV) are two new Ukrainian Internet television channels that are streaming live coverage from the protests.

Video clips went viral of riot police clubbing, gassing and kicking demonstrators under the cover of darkness. Photo: AP/Sergei Chuzavkov

Video clips went viral of riot police clubbing, gassing and kicking demonstrators under the cover of darkness. Photo: AP/Sergei Chuzavkov


Nayyem, an Afghan-Ukrainian, is credited with jump starting the protest movement by sending out Facebook appeals for protesters on Nov. 21, the day the government backed away from signing the pact with the European Union. That evening, about 1,500 people responded to his appeal.

Nayyem says he chose Facebook, over its Russia-based rivals, Vkontakte and Odnoklassniki, because Facebook in Ukraine is used by the elite, the opinion makers.

Facebook, he said, is democratic because it allows for instant, horizontal communication among people who trust each other and who consider themselves social equals. By contrast, television is better suited for the kind of Soviet-style, top down, vertical communication that politicians of Yanukovych’s generation are comfortable with.

No one knows how Ukraine’s uprising will play out.

Behind wooden barricades, anti-government protesters wonder if the police will launch another night attack. Photo: AP/Sergei Grits

Behind wooden barricades, anti-government protesters wonder if the police will launch another night attack. Photo: AP/Sergei Grits

In Russia, an internet-fueled opposition movement gathered tens of thousands of people into the streets of Moscow in the winter of 2012.

But President Putin held the day, winning reelection on the shoulders of the TV tribe, still the nation’s majority.

In Ukraine, Yanukovych may be able to restore order in time to mount a serious candidacy in the March 2015 presidential elections.

And police injured almost 80 people last Saturday on the Maidan, or protest square, the government now is showing that it can adapt.

On Wednesday, Ukraine’s Interior Minister formally ordered police to not use violence against protesters. And on Thursday, Interfax news wire carried this news flash: UKRAINIAN PROSECUTOR GENERAL’S OFFICE CALLS INTERIOR MINISTER FOR QUESTIONING REGARDING DISPERSING MAIDAN.

James Brooke
James Brooke is the Russia/CIS bureau chief for Voice of America. A lifelong journalist, he covered West Africa, Brazil, the American Rocky Mountain States, Canada, and Japan/Korea for The New York Times. A resident of Moscow since 2006, he was first Bloomberg bureau chief for the region. In 2010, he joined VOA. In addition to writing Russia Watch, his weekly blog, he also does video, radio and web reports from Russia and the former USSR.

38 Responses to “From Ukraine to Georgia to Russia, the Internet Breaks the Information Rules of the Old USSR”

  1. Danram says:

    Both Putin and Yanukovich are relics of a bygone era. Someone really needs to tell them that the Cold War is over and that communism lost. The old KGB playbook simply doesn’t work any more.

    Even now, the “on scene” reporters for Russian TV are claiming that the protesters number no more than just a few thousand and that the overwhelming majority of Ukrainians support Yanukocich in his decision to scrap the EU trade pact. How stupid are these people??? Don’t they realize that anyone in Russia with an internet connection can easily find out that such a claim is ludicrous?

    Then again, perhaps, as Mr. Brooke points out in his column, Putin and Yanukovich are only concerned with reaching the “TV tribe” that will believe just about anything that they’re told. That’s their power base.

    But I think that both of them have very badly miscalculated here. In the long run, even if Yanukovich survives, this whole affair will serve only to push Ukraine further from Russia, not closer to it. The EU trade pact may not be signed this year, but it will eventually be signed. The younger generation has had it with the old-school Soviet way of doing things.

    • Valeria says:

      First Russia is not communism anymore and not under Cold war and never been! I think it is US who always tell Americans about threat from Russia! To excuse why spend so much budget for arms and military, even Americans realize it now.
      Based on all facts EU and America is brooke now as well! Except Russia, Yanukovich made good choice with all means he choose something stable for now!

      • Andrii says:

        Russia is not communism anymore but the essence is the same.

      • olya says:

        you are a pro-soviet politically naive girl, who does not know any Ukrainian
        history from either the pre-Soviet, Soviet and current era. let alone knowing
        anything about true freedom in UA or the USA. Go to school first, then have
        an intelligent opinion.

  2. Peter says:

    I am Dutch but live the last 12 years in Russia and I think by that that I understand something about life and culture in Russia.

    President Putin is a man who I admire is a genius ruler who changed Russia from a land of criminals under Yeltsin to an economical world power.

    I think that is where the jalousies start in the USA and Europe how they are brought their rich countries to unemployment and bankruptcy.

    I am disappointed about your article that likes the western media only pay attention to the organized protest by the USA, Europe and some world financers for their own interest and no attention at all about the lies to the people of the Ukraine.

    Europe and the USA have only the attention to suck out the products they want for their own purpose and military advances against Russia who is trying to solve all political problems in a gentleman’s way and by this the white house (war house) in Washington sees again the stagnation of their war factories.

    The local people in the Ukraine still don’t understand that it is all about a trade contract by the smoke curtain made by the EU and the USA and for sure the American and media in the EU are not interested to tell them that they shall not be a member and that they cannot travel to the EU.

    We like to pay attention to the organized rallies and make a lot of noise to mislead the people of the Ukraine.

    Furthermore I like to say that the involvement of politician from the EU and the USA is disgusting, they are not able to settle their own problems in their own countries, let the democratic elected president of the Ukraine and his ministers decide which road they want to follow.

  3. pravda says:

    Mr Peter,
    How can discutable ( because only fot Russian elite) economic prosperity, justify major neglect of human rights! Same in Russia as in China.
    I think Peter is brainwashed by his political friends.
    The situation in Ukraine is actually worse. More corruption and more poverty under the present president who also ruled before the liberating Orange revolution. How can a minority of max 40%’ democratically’ choose a president when at least 60% pro western Europe is against this man?
    The power in Ukraine is in the wring hands and Putin is supporting this situation.
    Of course the poor people of Ukraine are unrealistic that they can not become wealthy overnight by signing a document with EU.
    But their protest against present situation is reeel and comes from the heart.
    The older Ukrainians have not forgotten that Stalin killed millions of their citizens in the 30′s :( That is a historic fact my fellow Dutch citizen!!!

    • Peter says:

      Dear Pravda,
      Thanks for your replay in some parts I can agree with you but why we don’t make so much noise about the violations in the USA end appreciate if the war lord Mc Cain is coming to put oil on the fire.
      I live far from political influence and at my age nobody can tell me stories, thanks.
      Europe and the USA try to blame Russia about anything but see how they play the game to try to have for free advantage from Ukraine wile Putin offer 10 billion Dollars.
      For me it is amazing that everybody don’t like Russia but that the same Europe and the USA are presented in Russia in big (business) number to have a piece of the money from this economical strong country.
      Maybe you know that protest in countries like in the Ukraine are paid to students, older and poor people and that is a fact if you know something from the local culture, there is big interest from global financier like Soros and also the government of the USA to push Ukraine to the west nobody cares about the people there are other things on stake.
      Take some more study about Mr. Putin my friend and improve yourself in knowledge compare the situation from the time that he started as president en where Russia is economical at this moment and you shall understand that this man is a mastermind and a great leader, I have seen Russia change in an amazing way and don’t forget that this country has almost the size of half the world.
      The cold war did stop a long time ago for Russia, sad to see that it did never stopped for the rest of the world.
      The older people of the Ukraine must learn to understand that the people in Holland not like the Germans for the same reason but maybe they are more educated, the Dutch did learn that if the Germans come to Holland for business of for a holiday that they bring money.

    • Valeria says:

      And Stalin was Georgian, he was not Russian!

      • Andrii says:

        There are no difference who are at the top of power. Russia – is an empire that lives by his own rules. During its existing as an empire it kills its own citizens more than was killed during the wars with external countries.

  4. Valeria says:

    I absolutely agree! Eromidan as well as the orange revolution American propaganda! I am Ukrainian I live in Canada for last 20 years and I understand how Americans trying to create Hollywood show in Ukraine to create conflict between Russia and Ukraine! Intelligent people all understand that!

  5. TRUTH says:

    Hi everyone! я родилась в России, тогда еще СССР. я помню жизнь как и при СССР, так и после развала в России. Мои родители тоже родились в (ССР) и я как раз из того поколения, что помнит разницу между “сытой и спокойной“ жизнью в совке (думаю мои игрушки в совке уступали игрушкам моих сверстников в западных странах и не только игрушки…когда смотрю фотографии детства удивляюсь) и развалом после…НО я помню и ценила ту свободу мыслить, которая пришла вместе с перестройкой. К сожалению она как пришла, так и быстро ушла. Читая комментарии ко многим статьям о России и Украине я обнаружила что всегда есть те, кто защищают коммунизм. Те, кто действительно его защищают не думаю, что умеют читать новости на английском (имея ввиду более старое поколение), поэтому мне здаетса, что это люди работающие на власти. Их задача сбить с толку любого, кто еще не определился с мнениями: любить ли свою Родину или все-таки во всем идти за Западом?! Так вот! Я вам сейчас открою Америку, потому что скажу, что можно оставаться патриотом, при этом совершенно не поддерживать политику своей Родины. Россия! Руки прочь от Украины (скорее руки прочь Володя!). Мне жаль тех у кого нет совести писать подобную чушь в защиту Путина, когда они понятия не имееют о разнице между свободой и рабством, но при этом учат других…правда и факты они и в Африке такие же, сколько бы не врали о них.

    • Peter says:

      Dear truth,

      In one thing you are right that the US and Europe try to confuse the people in the Ukraine in cooperation with the world financiers like Mr. Soros and his clan.

      Past is past as you cannot live in the past as everyday has new challenges.

      I left Europe 12 years ago for Russia and looking back it was one of the best decisions in my life and I traveled around the world and for now I know that I live in the only free country available in the world.

      There are some differences what most people don’t see or want to see between Europe the US and Russia;
      • If you MUST pay money in Russia to do business than they call it bribe if you MUST pay money to do business in the US or Europe than they call it commissions. (Yes it is fanny)

      • In present Russia we understand that Mr. Khodorkovsky is a criminal who was not even afraid to kill people to be the richest man in Russia at the time, in Europe they admire the same criminal.

      I can continue for a long time but I like to pay attention to a Russia that is changed with a highly intelligent person and for sure one of the best leaders in this world the president Mr. Putin.

      • Call me one leader in the world who is available on the television for his people and answer their questions and make changes for them at the spot.
      • Call me one leader to who you can write a letter and have answer in one week time with a decision.

      My wife is diagnosed with cancer and in the whole Russia there were no medicines available for here, we did write to the president Mr. Putin and after a week we had replay with a supporting letter for the hospital and two (2) day’s later the medicines arrived in the hospital.

      I can continue but it is not about this, Mr. Putin made from a poor country Russia to a respected economical world power and not forgets to pay attention to his people.

      Mr. Putin is forced by the US, EU and some dark forces to invest in the navy and military forces in my opinion to stop the growing wealth of Russia just as the US did in the past with the race to the moon, same story only now a different game, they forget Russia has more money.

      You feel sorry for people who defend Mr. Putin but it shall be interesting for you and a good historical lesson if you pay some attention to how he started to fight the corruption in Russia even when he was not the president in a time that the US was stealing the oil from Russia and the US even asked Russia to pay for their service. (Yes it is true)

      Yes Mr. Putin changed something there and I think the US Still remember this and shall never forget.

      The difference between Russia and the US and the EU is that in Russia you are a free man and that in the US and EU you THINK that you are a free man.

      I think that Valeria agree with me that the Ukraine made has a good partner for the future.

      About 12 years ago when I was living in Archangelsk I predicted that in 10 years time Russia shall be a economical super power.

      I predicted the financial disaster in the EU and I was not far off, Mr. Putin shall support the Ukraine in every way to make it a healthy economic country and they now that in Europe and the US and they are afraid for it as they all financially suffer by the war drift inside of them and the wrong financial decisions.

      Please understand that I know that there are also good Americans and Europeans it is about the “Management”, the main problem in those country’s is that they did give all people easy and fast big loons and now they are hooked up by the banks, they cannot protest anymore they are slaves of their loons from the banks and don’t want to lose what they have, are they happy I don’t think so.

      But, that is the Europe where the young and innocent students and people at the Maiden for fighting with the support of Vietnam killer and war hawk Mr. Mc kain.

      People of Ukraine, I don’t want to judge if your president is the best leader for you but be sure in this case he made the best decision.

      And yes, I admire Mr. Putin.

      • Andrii says:

        To understand what is going on in Ukraine and understand Ukrainians we should know the very history of the relationship among Ukraine and Russia. During more than 350 years Russia attempting to destroy Ukrainian spirit and exterminate ethnic Ukrainians. So the move to EU is more the wish to be far from Russia.

        If we look at the steps of our government and our current president it seems that there is a task for them to destroy Ukrainian independence and sell all Ukrainian citizens to Russia.

        Current economic situation in Ukraine’s economy shows that for the period of almost four years existing government was brought it to the bridge of financial crisis. As it seems to me Azarov & the like lead Ukraine to default where Ukraine will bought by the Russia.

        EU is not a paradise but it is better than be enslaving by Russia.

        What I can agree with you that there is in Ukraine no such kind of leader as is Putin who would be able to «мочить и в туалетах» enemies of Ukraine.

      • JLNancy says:

        I think you’ve drunk Putin the Great’s Kool-Aide and have fallen deep into an Orwellian memory-hole. Your disinformation and comparisons are really quite comically absurd yet very equally scary. I wish you well though.

        Re Ukraine,
        in the past, the tsar would simply overrun Ukraine. Today, Putin has slowly reconstituted Russia and is still trying to hold on to its jewel, Ukraine, and the world *be damned*. HAHA

        The problem with Ukrainian politics is that it is based not on resolving problems. It is oriented on two things – staying in power ( which means be Putin’s puppet) or expanding your power, and secondly, personal enrichment (to afford Putin;s blessings).

        Also, since you live in Russia-Land-Of-The Free, it’s curious as to why Ukrainians, the largest minority that is living in Russia, have had serious steps undertaken by Putin to further limit their Ukrainian organizations’, schools’, publishing houses’ etc. activities. The dissolution of two major Ukrainian umbrella organizations had been before the courts in Russia and Strasbourg. Even Russia’s Foreign Minister had acknowledged the political nature of the dissolution.

        The United Nations’ High Commissioner for Human Rights reported, “Russia currently has the highest number of cases pending before the European Court of Human Rights.” This was attributed in part to problems within Russia’s own legal system. But still the quote sentiment is alarming.

        Russia’s law on religion recognizes only religions that had been active under Joseph Stalin, with Russian Orthodoxy the pre-eminent force. Ukrainian Orthodoxy or Ukrainian Catholicism are outlawed officially in Russia, but permitted to function without legal registration or property ownership. Minorities function, BUT receive no state assistance as Russian Orthodoxy does. In fact, last I knew, Russia does not have a ministry dealing with minorities despite the Council of Europe mandate.

        Russia’s disregard for human rights and minority rights within its borders is notorious!

        IMO, Putin supporters are the kind of people who constantly step on the same rake and repeatedly get smacked in the face for their pain.

  6. Peter says:

    Dear JLNancy,

    I think your history is very good but you need to grow up as you live in the past, thoughts fueled hate is sleeping with the devil.
    Mr. Putin is according the “Times” the person of the year and I think that is a different view as you have only based on the past and not based on the influence Mr. Putin had on the world peace this year.

    Grow up and don’t live in the past.

    Ukraine:

    Mr. Putin did solved the financial problems from the government and FOR the people of the Ukraine by cutting the gas price and a tremendous amount of money, the US did send only Mc Cain fueling like Hitler the people who were paid to protest (except a few) to try to make a disaster.
    Europe did only want to pay for bread and water for the people and to demand the government how to higher the prices for gas and others.

    Grow up and don’t live in the past.

    Europe and USA;

    Europe is in big financial problems and this month Europe lost the AAA states.
    Look at internet about the crimes in Europe but nobody is talking about that, and where they admire Russian criminals like Khodorkovsky and co who did kill people and did steel from the people.
    Look at internet and learn that there are states in the USA where is more crime than in the whole Russia and learn how the government of the US treats the prisoners.
    Look on internet about the killing with drones and intrigues of the American government in almost all countries off the world but they are pointing as the God to Russia who is a growing problem for them as Mr. Putin shows the world that you can solve problems in a diplomatic way and not by bombing country’s to support their war factories.

    Grow up and don’t live in the past.

    And yes I admire Mr., Putin he is one of the most intellectual leaders in this world.

    • Andrii says:

      Peter says: Mr. Putin did solved the financial problems from the government and FOR the people of the Ukraine by cutting the gas price and a tremendous amount of money

      It is not a charity; it is an additional yoke on the necks of Ukrainian citizens.

      President’s team have brought Ukraine’s economy to the state of default and financial problems were created by them. This “help” from Russia is not for bettering and not for improving the situation but only for conserving existing state of the energy consuming economy and the prolongation of “proffesional proffesors” from President’s team at power.

  7. peter says:

    Dear Andrii,

    Andrii says: It is not a charity; it is an additional yoke on the necks of Ukrainian citizens.

    But can you think about the situation if Mr. Putin did not cut the gas prices and did give 15 Billion dollar.

    Happy new year dear all I hope there are no bad feeling about our difference opinions and I wish you all the best in health and life for 2014.

    My best regards and with love from Russia,
    Peter

    • Andrii says:

      Peter says: But can you think about the situation if Mr. Putin did not cut the gas prices and did give 15 Billion dollar.

      Yes, I think. President’s team brought Ukrainian to bankruptcy and must go away. This “charity” from Putin delay the restructure Ukrainian economy to developing and implementing energy saving technology and more so save this incapable bankrupt government at power.

  8. peter says:

    Dear Andrii, I think I can agree about your government but I think you are wrong about the charity from Mr. Putin, I think that he is a mastermind and a businessman, he shall reform your government to have back, and as a business man to improve his investment.

    Also I think that it is in anybody’s interest for world peace that Ukraine is not connected with the “puppets on a string” from there warlords in the US who are located in the European parliament, I thank Mr. Snowden for bringing the news and we must appreciate that.

  9. Andrii says:

    Peter says: “he (Putin) shall reform your government to have back…”

    And made from it a puppet in his hand?

    And don’t say about “warlords in the US”. Simply read Ukrainian history and compare how many Ukrainians were killed by US and Russians.

  10. Andrii says:

    Peter says: Mr. Putin, I think that he is a mastermind and a businessman, he shall reform your government to have back

    Back to the New USSR?

  11. peter says:

    Dear Andrii,

    To reform a country you must first reform yourself and close the past.
    If all people think like you noting will happen.
    Read the news about the warlords in the US and the peace making results of Mr. Putin and decide, if you cannot understand what is happening in the US and in Russia than better to visit Russia to see how the country changed and that to speak again, I am born in Europe and I was 9 months in the US and I live for a long time in Russia so I am able to judge the difference, what is in the past is in the past, we live today.

    • Andrii says:

      Close the past? History teaches us what to expect in future. And history says that Russia is not for good for any nation, for any country, for any individual without some interest for itself. Russia is a mechanism for depressing people, for transforming them into so called Russians (the new community of people – the Soviet people) not remembering their predecessors, predecessor’s culture, language, faith. But I and, I think, most of Ukrainians don’t wish to betray their past, their memory about grand’s, language and culture. And as I said before Russia killed millions of Ukrainians so I prefer if Russia will be beyond a border with a barbed wire.

  12. Peter says:

    Dear Andrii,

    Andrii writes; History teaches us what to expect in future.

    I think you was on the wrong school, even the Germans did learn from Hitler who started world war 2, to remember you about that war created by the Germans that is one of the country’s you want to belong to (EU)

    But they did learn from it, you not.

    An European Union supported by the US who is making war in almost every country in the world to steel their oil.

    People who live in the past have a short memory and by telling that ” I prefer if Russia will be beyond a border with a barbed wire” you are from the same level of Stalin.

    Change your pampers and if you are big enough to understand about politics than write again.

    I have respect for the people of the Ukraine and am happy that they are not like you.

    Good bay “мальчик”

    • Andrii says:

      Peter said: Hitler who started world war 2

      1) World War 2 was started by Hitler and Stalin invading Poland.

      Peter said: An European Union supported by the US

      2) US did not killed Ukrainians but Russia killed millions of Ukrainians.

      Peter said: People who live in the past have a short memory

      3) You think that Armenian, Jew should forget their genocide?

      What I can agree with you that despite the Russia is the devil we destined to be neighbors and profit from this neighboring as Russia is a raw materials appendage for Ukraine and a market for our insufficient for EU product. Even pampers can’t change this kind of relations. But our relations should be through barbed wire as the Putin’s wish to restore the empire is strong and dangerous for us and any neighbor.

  13. Peter says:

    Dear Andrii,

    Andrii says: US did not killed Ukrainians but Russia killed millions of Ukrainians.

    Please do read the international newspapers about the world-wide killing of the US, Yesterday I did, and it was very interesting to see that the US has a new record, they are elected by international news papers “as the worlds biggest treat for war”.

    Andrii write; You think that Armenian, Jew should forget their genocide?

    Reed the international newspapers and notice that Armenia shall join the Eurasian Union from Russia, they are more intelligent than the few people in the Ukraine like you poison by the American propaganda with only promises and hunger for war.

    You are infected with hate But I like to invite you to Russia on my cost to travel and speak with local people and to understand that you are completely wrong, you have only the story’s from the past from books I live in Russia as a forener with an open view.

    History is good to learn about how people made mistakes in the past, it is a good thing if we leurn from those mistakes (like Mr. Putin) and if you understand that than you are intelligent.

    By the way: John Demjanjuk found guilty of Nazi war crimes

    German court sentences 91-year-old Ukrainian for his part in killing 28,060 Jews at Sobibór concentration camp

    Good that I, like many people NOT think that all people from Ukraine are the same like John Demjanjuk (and it is the past) like you think that all Russians are bad because of your history books.

    • Andrii says:

      Sorry, but I don’t see any difference in method used by fascists of Germany and fascist of Russia but if the first were in favor of one nation the last were for any.

      Ukraine should and will decide what way to choose by its own and without Russia. If we join the EU we may expect change for better life. If Yanukovich and his gang will sell Ukraine and us, Ukrainian citizens, to Asia there will not be any change.

      We, Ukrainians, don’t wish to live as we live now in a corrupted semi-bandits state. We want change. And we want change for better life for ourselves and our children.

    • NAM says:

      You say:
      “By the way: John Demjanjuk found guilty of Nazi war crimes”

      John Demjaniuk was framed and was INNOCENT, it was proved in Israeli court that the documents were falsified by Moscow KGB. The real Ivan the Terrible was Ivan Marchenko who went to Yugoslavia.
      Here is a quote from website (http://www.dpcamps.org/jewsVsUkrainians2.html)
      “…
      The main piece of Soviet-provided evidence against Demianiuk was a supposed identity card showing his name and picture at the Travniki training camp for guards. The authenticity of the document was challenged as it was apparent that the picture had come from another document and that the card contained other inaccuracies. That was not enough to acquit Demianiuk, but the KGB’s internal files released after the Soviet collapse convinced the Israelis of Demianiuk’s innocence.”

      So, before you post derogatory comments about Ukrainians, check and recheck your facts, please!

  14. yvy says:

    JL Nancy et al … re “Peter”. Take it easy he is just a fake. Peter pal nothing personal. We all gotta make living.

    • JLNancy says:

      @yvy – Yes, you’re right.

      When I remember that Putin already dismanteled and reorganized the media that he controls by spearheading Dmitry Kiselev, a known history revisionist and no friend to legitimate journalism, as its new-face of Russian propoganda, dudes like Peter are part and parcel of the media/internet lies, misinformation and nonsense that people wind up
      having to cringe over.

      Through their brainless slander, they really do think people will swallow anything.

      >>>”Dmitry Kiselev just reported that an elderly woman came to the Kyivan Maidan, became a lesbian, shouted “Heil Hitler!” and died.”

      BWAHAHAHA

      When I remember, also, that Iran’s Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini was selected as Man of the Year, by Time, in spite of the Iran Hostage Crisis in Teheran, and before that even Adolf Hitler had the honor, it puts things in proper perspective.

      For the 2013 year, Time’s Person of the Year contenders were Putin, along with Syrian leader Bashar Assad, Iranian President Hasann Rounhani, but so were the Boston Bombers, the Tsarnayev Brothers. So looks like Putin won. (the Authoritative Thug of the Year).

      Furthermore, Peter-the–Flamer’s Russian Propoganda Lexicon re John Demjanuk is also obvious.

      FACT CHECK –
      The conviction of John Demjanuk broke new legal ground in Germany as the FIRST TIME someone was convicted SOLELY on the basis of serving as a campguard, with NO EVIDENCE in involvement in a specific killing. Demjanuk, who was convicted of being a low-ranking guard was appealing the case to Germany’s high-court.

      He was released pending the appeal and died A FREE MAN. (The case against him was flawed from the get-go; the Kremlin could never tolerate Soviet military defectors and other Ukrainians etc. who refused Forced Repatriation back to the Soviet Union after WWII and the Kremlin became the primary source of providing much falsification.)

      Nevertheless, .in 2012, a newly uncovered FBI Report in the US revealing plainly exculpatory and relevant documents, had raised a fundamental issue of fairness, truth and justice which had been grounds for Demjanuk’s appeal since he never was a campguard. as the Soviets claimed.

      Lastly re: Snowden:
      –How do you know you’re a Dictator?
      –When Putin envies your ability to spy on your people!

      Does make me wonder if Peter even reads James Brooke’s blog entries or he does and that’s why he is a *flamer* albeit paid.

      I feel sorry for the many Russians who are normal people. But their state has always been and ever will remain a mobster kleptocracy run by frothing mad men.

  15. JLNancy says:

    @ Peter – Happy New Year

    Saw this on the *internet* and thought I’d share w/ you.

    International powerhouse of masculinity Vladimir Putin has won the Russian Man of the Year award, along with the award for Woman of the Year, setting several records in Журнал сани собака (Sleigh Dog Magazine), and being awarded the Russian Mycological Society’s biannual novelty title of “Most Interesting Mold or Fungus.” The colossus of statesmanship, and all other forms of manshippery, indicated his deep gratitude for these honors by barely inclining his head while shooting a tyrannosaur.

    “Of course he can win woman of the year!” explained award committee spokeswoman Irina Petrovich, “No laws say he can’t, anymore, just like there are no laws against being president three times anymore, or none of his political enemies who aren’t in jail or terrified of that threat anymore. We are pleased, no, delighted, to give him this award, and any other written or verbal confession or award he or any of his state security services may require.”

    Likewise, the editorial staff of Sleigh Dog Magazine dismissed any claims of political interference, indicating a series of high-contrast and professionally-lit photographs that a reporter happened to snap while the president hauled a broken tractor across a thousand miles of frozen tundra in the course of regular presidential duties.

    When asked what all this posturing would achieve in terms of solving Russia’s problems with corruption and political repression, Putin grinned, snapped an adamantium bar in half with his bare hands, and the questioning reporter later accidentally repeatedly fell down the stairs to a Siberian dungeon cell while walking his dog in Moscow.

  16. Peter says:

    Dear All,

    Think that you all are sleeping, just look at the facts.

    http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/cri_tot_cri-crime

  17. JLNancy says:

    From the Comments section of your link, Peter >>

    QUOTE
    “Actually the figures are total incidents, not adjusted for population.

    The crime rate in America is not 11.8m per 100,000 inhabitants. “

    QUOTE
    “…These figures are NOT incidents per 100,000 citizens as some readers have stated despite the fact that the U.S. lists over 11 MILLION incidents which would equate to about every fourth citizen committing a violent crime! !

    When you divide the incidents of violent crime by the population the list changes dramatically. In order of Highest to Lowest crime rate: 1:Columbia, 2:U.K., 3:Iceland, 4:Mexico, 5:Montserrat, 6:Sweden, 7:New Zealand, 8:Finland, 9:Belgium, 10:Denmark, 11:Netherlands, 12:Germany, 13:Canada, 14:Norway, 15:Austria, 16:France, 17:S.Africa.

    [So] The U.S. is #27, a far cry from the number 1 position implied in this list.

    Other than to make some sort of an ideological point vilifying the United States I can’t figure out why a misleading list like this would be published without qualifiers.

    Wanna bet the same people who embrace this list for the ingenuous way it misrepresents would denounce it when population is factored in to show the truth?…”

    And, also, Peter >> critical reading, PUH-LEEEZE >>

    NOTE: Crime statistics are often better indicators of prevalence of law enforcement and willingness to report crime, than actual prevalence.

    So, your findings….. ZZ-ZZZZZZZZZZZ

    Heh-heh, but try this as a wake-up >>

    http://www.freedomhouse.org/report/contending-putins-russia/chronology

    or Freedom House vid which includes the phenomenon of *modern authoritarianism* –a VENEER of Legislative Legitimacy… to go after opposition and perceived threats…

    http://www.freedomhouse.org/article/freedom-world-2014

    Enjoy:)

  18. Peter says:

    Hi Nancy,

    You wrote;
    the fact that the U.S. lists over 11 MILLION incidents which would equate to about every fourth citizen committing a violent crime! !
    So according your calculations the population of the US is 4x 11 Million= 44 Million.

    According Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    As of January 31, 2014, the United States has a total resident population of 317,580,000,

    Looks like that you must go back to school.

    And if you read good you can see that it is about the amount of crimes and not about per 100,000 inhabitants, that are facts, sorry girl.

  19. Mike Havenar says:

    I keep remembering what Fidel Castro said two years ago: ‘Violent revolution is now unnecessary, because now we have the Internet.” Tunisia, Egypt, and Ukraine proves his prescience.

About

About

James Brooke is VOA Moscow bureau chief, covering Russia and the former USSR. With The New York Times, he worked as a foreign correspondent in Africa, Latin America, Canada and Japan/Koreas. He studied Russian in college during the Brezhnev years, first visited Moscow as a reporter during the final months of Gorbachev, and then came back for reporting forays during the Yeltsin and early Putin years. In 2006, he moved to Moscow to report for Bloomberg. He joined VOA in Moscow in 2010. Follow Jim on Twitter @VOA_Moscow.

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