The Safety Internet League: A Post-Modern Gestapo

The Russian Internet League is a NPO, created in 2011 by Konstantin Malofeev’s Marshall Capital Partners, the Orthodox St. Basil the Savior Fund (run by Malofeev), and several Russian internet providers. The “League” was the initiator of the notorious Law #183-F3 from 2012, which created a “Central Register of banned sites”.

There were several theories regarding the origin of this project.  A former Marshall Capital officer told Russian Forbes that the League was likely a political order from Malofeev’s Kremlin friends to ensure a firewall against politically unfavorable information in the event of a political crisis (Forbes.ru itself is now coincidentally under Federal “anti-monopoly” investigation).

A PR specialist who previously declined a job for Malofeev told Forbes that the League was initiated as a PR move to distract public attention from Malofeev’s then legal problems related to the RosTelecom shares. A League fighting “public enemies such as pedophilia, extremism and homosexuality”, says Victor Michaelson, seemed like a socially responsible initiative. Other popular theories suggest Malofeev planned to use the League as a competitive tool, by dividing telecoms providers into a “white list” and a “black-list”.

Whatever the true motivation for Malofeev’s pet project, we know now its real function was hardly limited to watching out against sin on the net.

On 11 July 2014, at the height of the Russian (non)-intervention in Eastern Ukraine, Denis Dadydov, Director of the Internet Safety League, sent out the following email message to Georgi Gavrish, another person closely working with Malofeev.

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The message titled “Facebook” had an attachment named “Bloggers – report”.

The Report is a detailed dossier of 12 Ukrainian Facebook bloggers. It identifies their personal details, number of followers/friends, and a content analysis – focusing on whether they are pro-rebels, pro-Kiev, or anti-everyone.

An intriguing part of each blogger’s dossier is a mark on whether the blogger “works” or not. Most of the analyzed bloggers have a mark “worked“. On some bloggers, additional information was posted such as “500 u.e. [USD] advance not given], which may actually be a deniability-proof form of reporting how much in fact was given.

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Against the name of certain other bloggers, the report states they “refused to be contracted”. These are typically bloggers from Western Ukraine, although not only..UPDATE: One of the bloggers, who is listed as “refused to be contracted” has agreed to talk to me about his experience- I will publish his report tomorrow.

I attach the full report here.Блогеры отчет copy(2)

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