From Bamboo to E-stonia: amicable media in a post-Soviet states

From Bamboo to E-stonia: amicable media in a post-Soviet states

Depending on where we record on in a post-Soviet states we will have opposite amicable networks accessible and opposite degrees of leisure in regulating them. While Estonians enjoy some of a best internet freedoms in a world, according to Freedom House rankings, entrance in Uzbekistan is exceedingly curtailed. In a new investigate of the expansion

Depending on where we record on in a post-Soviet states we will have opposite amicable networks accessible and opposite degrees of leisure in regulating them. While Estonians enjoy some of a best internet freedoms in a world, according to Freedom House rankings, entrance in Uzbekistan is exceedingly curtailed.

In a new investigate of the expansion of a internet in a post-Soviet states, Eurozine found flourishing justification that supervision attempts to umpire state media are being extended to amicable media and blogs in some countries. “Tools of control, notice and promotion are some-more than adult to a charge of opposition online sources that foster democratisation,” researchers said.

Yet either it’s giveaway climbers posting Instagram selfies from Moscow’s rooftops, or campaigners organising protests on Twitter (or a alternatives), internet users opposite a post-Soviet universe have shown their integrity to overcome a limitations.


Russia is Europe’s fastest-growing internet audience, according to a 2013 news by attention organisation comScore.

VK (or VKontakte) is Russia’s many successful amicable network, boasting 100 million users worldwide. Translated as “In Contact”, a website famous as Russia’s Facebook gained prominence in a English-speaking universe when it offering Edward Snowden a job.

VK is really identical to Facebook and even allows users to pointer in with their Facebook profiles. For many, a offered indicate is that it allows to users to watch and share films and download video regulating a VK tracker app.

The site has been surrounded by plead in new months. Its 29-year-old owner Pavel Durov, mostly described as Russia’s Mark Zuckerberg, left a association in Apr after a dispute with a Kremlin-linked owners.

That plead continued recently when a president, Vladimir Putin, told an assembly of internet start-ups that new restrictions were especially dictated to strengthen children from pornographic content. He has sealed a law that creates it imperative for websites attracting some-more than 3,000 daily visits to register with a watchdog – a pierce his critics contend hampers internet freedoms.

VK’s closest aspirant is Odnoklassniki, or “school mates”, that is Russia’s second many renouned site and has an active assembly in Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Belarus.

Instagram has turn a informative materialisation in Russia, with journalists, celebrities and even a primary apportion pity filtered portraits from their lives. It’s also renouned with Russian giveaway climbers, who holding selfies on a buildings they’ve scaled with no ropes.


Odnoklassniki valid so renouned here that a Kazakh chronicle called On has emerged, used by internal cocktail stars. Freedom House rates Kazakhstan’s internet as “partly free”, adding that a supervision sees it as a intensity source of expansion though is heedful of a “democratising potential”. EurasiaNet reports that Twitter has nonetheless to take off in Kazakhstan, nonetheless a primary minister, Karim Masimov, “runs an active blog and a rest of a supervision is following his orders to do likewise, with churned results”.

Rulas (or “tribemate”) is another amicable network that has sprung adult in Kazakhstan. It is identical to Facebook, though with a disproportion – it asks users to supplement their “zhuz” (horde) and their “ru” (tribe) – a residence complement that has existed given a days of a Mongol empire. Rustem Kadyrzhanov, an consultant on Kazakh genealogical relations, told EurasiaNet that Rulas could be a ideal height to modernize residence loyalty.



Kyrgyzstan is also deliberate “partly free” in terms of internet use. One of a some-more innovative applications used here is a Twitter-based Russian-language content use to support Muslims fasting during Ramadan time, combined by a organisation of forward immature women.

Subscribers to @RamazanTime accept reminders about request and dish times, as good as a significance of adore and faithfulness in a time of Ramadan (or Ramazan, as a famous in Kyrgyzstan), all in140 characters.

@RamazanTime on Twitter


The internet is firmly tranquil in Uzbekistan. The central summary is that western enlightenment is damaging and contingency be contained, nonetheless copiousness of informed websites are available. For instance as an choice to Facebook, acquire to screengrab

Uzbekistan has also recently rolled out an answer to Twitter, called Bamboo, with a tag line “One Country, One Network!”. Despite carrying a identical interface, Bamboo allows for 700 impression updates, a underline some Twitter users competence approve of. Twitter is also used, not slightest by Gulnara Karimova, a president’s daughter, who took to a site to air a family feud final year.


In 2013 Freedom House pronounced internet use in Ukraine was “free”, adding that “while there was an boost in vigour on mainstream reporters toward self-censorship on domestic topics, there was also an boost in a use of ICTs for domestic mobilisation”. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram have played a pivotal purpose documenting a new Ukrainian uprising, as many took to their smartphones to request a Kiev protests.

But amicable media stating from a dispute has not been though a problems. A sketch of a morgue full of passed bodies presumably in Slovyansk published on a Russian website incited out to have been taken 5 years progressing in Mexico by a publisher covering a drug war. Websites such as StopFake have come to a front to guard news reports and amicable media rumours given of widespread misinformation being bandied about.


In countries where domestic organising is restricted, amicable media can be a apparatus to mobilize resistance. So it is in Belarus. Hundreds of people were incarcerated after demonstrations in 2011, dubbed a “revolution by amicable networks”. President Alexander Lukashenko vowed to relieve a array plot, restraint a opposition’s online presence in a process. The supervision has given extended regulations to enforce manners of conduct on amicable networking sites, that critics contend is merely a approach for a supervision to tie a reason on a citizens.


Freedom residence ranks Azerbaijan as “partly free” in terms of internet usage. State media dominates a news landscape, and students are compulsory to ‘like’ central supervision policies on Facebook.

In 2011, a arch state psychiatrist pronounced that people who wanted to promulgate online had mental health problems, according to Azerbaijan news website Trend.

The Donkey Bloggers

Bloggers also face slight intimidation, a many famous box being a “donkey bloggers” who done a video in 2009 creation fun of a supervision for spending thousands to critical donkeys from Germany. The span behind a video spent 17 months in jail for charges of hooliganism for their troubles. Emin Milli spoke to Radio Free Europe after his release, observant he believed a media array was holding place, with activists regulating amicable media to display supervision abuses.


Campaign group Reporters Without Borders ranks Turkmenistan 178 out of 180 in a 2014 World Press Freedom Index, customarily above Eritrea and North Korea. Freedom House categorises the press as “not free”, and says a supervision controls Turkmen Telecom with sites like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube pang occasionally interference.

Sites renouned in Turkmenistan include E-Dostluk, definition “online friendship”, that provides an online widget that allows users to send giveaway content messages worldwide, and Ertir, a Turkmen site renouned with immature people that has also gifted use disruption.


In 2009 Moldova had a supposed Twitter revolution, that saw thousands of protesters take the authorities by surprise by perfectionist an choosing recount. Using Twitter, Facebook and content messages, a protests were organized by Natalia Morar, 25. The Moldovan had creatively envisaged a peep mob that incited into 20,000 people conflict a council building.

Freedom House ranks Moldova’s press as “partly free”. Media outlets in a separatist Transnistria region are exceedingly restricted, and Freedom House says residents are increasingly regulating amicable media to anonymously plead politics with other Moldovans.

Nina Shtanski, a emissary primary apportion of a Transnistrian Moldovan Republic, is skilful during regulating Facebook to promulgate with her electorate. Analysts contend amicable media helped Shtanski’s electoral campaign, and she now uses Facebook to post central updates and rivet in discussions (even when she’s on holiday).

Nina Shtanski
Nina Shtanski’s Facebook profile


The press is “not free” in Tajikistan according to Freedom House. Although customarily 15% of people frequently used a internet in 2012, a supervision extended a peremptory participation to online platforms. In a final few weeks Transitions Online reported on another call of internet division with sites such as Google and Gmail being unavailable, customarily a few days after YouTube was taken offline.

This crackdown follows a array of outages given 2012, including blocks to Russian amicable media and Facebook in 2012, that Transitions Online says that “many saw as an bid to nozzle gainsay forward of a 2013 presidential elections”. YouTube was taken off atmosphere for several days in May 2013 after a video flush of President Imomali Rahmon dancing during his son’s wedding.

President Imomali Rahmon


Estonia has one of a slightest limited internet spaces in a world, according to Freedom House, who arrange a nation “free” and credit a internet with assisting to reconstruct democracy after a Soviet duty came to an finish in 1991.

The discerning online collect adult warranted a country a nickname “E-stonia”. It was a initial nation to use e-voting for parliamentary elections in 2007, and in 2011 e-ballots accounted for more than 20% of a vote. And afterwards there’s Skype, an Estonian start-up now assisting millions bond around a world.


Georgia’s internet is also deliberate “free” by Freedom House, who says that delayed tie poses a bigger problem than any form of supervision crackdown. Georgia initial got a internet in a late 1990s, with broadband entrance in 2004.

A decade on there is a flourishing trend of comparison politicians regulating amicable media to bond with citizens, with bloggers and amicable media activists savvy in regulating these platforms to reason leaders to account. For example, a protests dubbed “the brush revolution” saw thousands of protesters take to a streets to criticism opposite passionate and earthy abuse in prisons after footage was leaked on YouTube. At a time Global Voices reported that while identical abuse had been formerly reported, this was a initial time Georgians had seen it with their possess eyes.


Armenia has “considerably improved” a internet freedoms over a past few years, says Freedom House, ranking a nation “free”. Armenians are logging on to reason their supervision to account, for instance regulating a crowdsourcing height, definition iObserver, to guard a 2012 parliamentary elections. Citizens could news problems to directly to, around content or on Twitter using #iditord. The site suffered a cyber conflict on a day of elections though a plan was broadly deliberate a success and was rolled out to a presidential elections in 2013.


Latvia is deliberate “free” by Freedom House, with a watchdog indicating out that a “constitution protects freedoms of debate and a press, and a supervision generally upholds these rights in practice”. Like Russia, Latvia has a home grown amicable network called, that boasts some-more than 2.6 million users, a site is also widely used in Hungary, accessed through English vocalization users can record on at


Similarly, a Lithuanian structure protects leisure of a debate and a press, and a nation is categorised as “free” by Freedom House. Internet invasion is during 65%, and in 2011 Pando Networks, pronounced it had a fourth fastest tie speed in a world.

The Lithuanian dialect of tourism have recently embraced a many common duty on all amicable media sites: a like button. Through Likeable Lithuania, authorities are seeking people to share their favourite tools of a Baltic nation on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Google+ – “liking” all from prohibited atmosphere balloons rides to bike rides. People can also opinion for their favourite city to horde “the biggest LIKE sculpture in a universe”.

Do we live in a region? Are we a unchanging on one of a sites we’ve mentioned? What do we customarily use to bond with your friends? Have we ever gifted a supervision crackdown online? Tell us in a comments below. If we have any problems commenting or you’d like to sojourn annoymous greatfully hit

For some-more on amicable media in a post-Soviet universe here’s a list of people to follow on Twitter for news from a region.

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