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Hacked Emails Reveal Russian Astroturfing Program

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the you're-putin-me-on dept.

Social Networks 153

gotfork writes "Quoting The Guardian: 'A pro-Kremlin group runs a network of internet trolls, seeks to buy flattering coverage of Vladimir Putin and hatches plans to discredit opposition activists and media, according to private emails allegedly hacked by a group calling itself the Russian arm of Anonymous.' While a similar program has operated in China for a long time, and some commentators have suggested that a similar program exists in Russia, this is the first confirmation."

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Nooo. Really? (4, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38988443)

All those action hero images of Putin weren't real?

My faith in mankind is ruined.

In Soviet Russia internet trolls YOU!

Re:Nooo. Really? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38988537)

So... hacked Russian emails reveal politics are happening in Russia? Is that all this article's about?

Re:Nooo. Really? (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38988603)

So... hacked Russian emails reveal politics are happening in Russia? Is that all this article's about?

It's more like the old days of the Cagey Bee, but with less of the Siberian Travel In Your Near Future found in fortune cookie.

Re:Nooo. Really? (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 2 years ago | (#38988687)

Just like the "US Cybercommand".

http://burka.blogspot.com/bushcodpiece1.jpg [blogspot.com]

Re:Nooo. Really? (1)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 2 years ago | (#38991289)

Just like every individual, group, organisation, corporation or government that ever goes to a Public Relations agency (correct abbreviation B$ 'lies for profit').

Problem is they are always outnumbered. To win they have to buy off so many people it becomes pointless. Of course they are always looking at ways of cheating and introducing automation into the system, to make one person seem like thousands on the internet but the internet simply tightens up new enrolment methods to ensure real people and those sites that fail die.

I dare say the people at slashdot could write a book about methods used by PR(B$) trolls and keeping them out of the system, including commenting for, against and just off topic flooding, moderating, meta-moderating and, story submission. Often it seems like slashdot is a test bed for PR(B$) trolls before those methods are deployed every where.

Re:Nooo. Really? (3, Informative)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#38990021)

The point is that anti-opposition campaign in Russia has made a lot of claims that opposition demonstrations and online activity is all paid (the usual claim is that US Department of State is footing the bill), whereas the expression of admiration for the glorious leader is completely genuine.

Re:Nooo. Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38991775)

Of course they are. He's the toughest retarded snaggle toothed dwarf around. He can punch out anybodies knees.

In Soviet Russia... (4, Funny)

Tim the Gecko (745081) | more than 2 years ago | (#38988455)

... bonchski is astroturfed by YOU!

Re:In Soviet Russia... (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38988563)

Internet troll running pro-Kremlin group, seeking to buy flattering coverage of Vladimir Putin, by hatching plans to discredit opposition activists and media, according to private emails allegedly hacked by a group calling itself the Russian arm of Anonymous operates program similar to long-time Chinese, which some commentators have suggested that a similar program exists in Russia, confirms for the first time YOU!

Re:In Soviet Russia... (5, Funny)

flyingsquid (813711) | more than 2 years ago | (#38988869)

I'd just like to point out that since this activity is taking place in Russia, technically the correct term is not "astroturfing", it should be "cosmoturfing"

Re:In Soviet Russia... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38990381)

I'd just like to point out that since this activity is taking place in Russia, technically the correct term is not "astroturfing", it should be "cosmoturfing"

It's confidante, you insensitive-- Oh, wait. Never mind.

Re:In Soviet Russia... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38989375)

Actually, given his love of Apple products, Bonchski is probably astroturfed by everybody in your iPhone address book.
http://kottke.org/12/02/more-on-iphone-address-book-privacy

It's not really a secret, per se, but there's a quiet understanding among many iOS app developers that it is acceptable to send a user's entire address book, without their permission, to remote servers and then store it for future reference. It's common practice, and many companies likely have your address book stored in their database

The horror! (4, Funny)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#38988471)

I am disgusted to discover that a politician would hire people to say nice things about them and bad things about their opponents. This must stop at once.

Re:The horror! (4, Insightful)

bonch (38532) | more than 2 years ago | (#38988607)

What's changed is that the pervasiveness of social media and the anonymity of the internet makes it so that waging an astroturfing PR campaign can be both harder to detect and much more effective. Basically, you should take everything and everyone online with a grain of salt (including me!).

Re:The horror! (5, Funny)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 2 years ago | (#38988985)

Basically, you should take everything and everyone online with a grain of salt (including me!).

I bet the Salt Manufacturer's Association paid you to say that...

Re:The horror! (1)

Max_W (812974) | more than 2 years ago | (#38989189)

Really nice joke.

Re:The horror! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38989713)

Basically, you should take everything and everyone online with a grain of salt (including me!).

I bet the Salt Manufacturer's Association paid you to say that...

Nah, they just made an implied threat. [zcache.com] Much cheaper that way.

Re:The horror! (1)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | more than 2 years ago | (#38989537)

Basically, you should take everything and everyone online with a grain of salt (including me!).

I see...and a grain of salt including you is a pretty large one, did I get it right?

Re:The horror! (1)

Spykk (823586) | more than 2 years ago | (#38989893)

I have my doubts about just how effective astroturfing on slashdot is. When I see someone consistantly attacking the same organization for reasons that are often tangentially related to the story I have to assume they have some kind of agenda. Why would I value that person's opinions?

Re:The horror! (1)

smash (1351) | more than 2 years ago | (#38990529)

Except for fox news. They're america's most fair and balanced news source.

Now, in the US! (5, Insightful)

zooblethorpe (686757) | more than 2 years ago | (#38988621)

I am disgusted to discover that a politician would hire people to say nice things about them and bad things about their opponents. This must stop at once.

Indeed. In fact, I've got a lovely bridge to sell to anyone who thinks that something similar isn't already happening in the US, or really, in just about any Internet-savvy nation.

Re:Now, in the US! (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#38989015)

We've already seen it over and over again here in the US with Microsoft, and that isn't even politics. (They even have an official name for their astroturfers: "Technical Evangelists") With all the campaign money that Obama's amassed, he's surely doing the same thing.

Re:Now, in the US! (1)

Pecisk (688001) | more than 2 years ago | (#38989499)

Why on every criticism on Russia there's usual comparing with US? In this case, heaviest astroturfing from Microsoft pales from organizational level of Kremlin "web force". These guys are full time, full convinced that they are doing right job, not some bored PR guys playing "casual users".

Re:Now, in the US! (4, Insightful)

Required Snark (1702878) | more than 2 years ago | (#38990371)

After the fall of the Soviet Bloc, both US and Russia and it's satellite states have followed a very similar course. The governments are merging with the money/power elites. In Russia they are relatively honest, and talk about the "oligarchs". In the US this is going on under the radar.

There are differences. In Russia the oligarchs are untouchable as long as they don't challenge Putin politically or economically. All policy foreign and domestic is under sole control of the state.

In the US it is the opposite. Large areas of government policy are being controlled by the corporate elites. That is was ACTA/SOPA/etc are all about, as is TARP and the ongoing bank/Wall Street bailout. The government is shielding corrupt and inefficient corporate entities from the consequences of their incompetent behavior.

When Jamie Diamon, head of JPMorgan, said that "we have a right to make a profit", he was speaking literally. He thinks that the big banks are not subject to capitalism and should have guaranteed success. This is much closer to a feudal society, where the landed aristocracy always has the best, even when the peasants are starving. It is not capitalism, where failure is always an option. FDR called this "economic royalism", which is a good description of our current economic system.

Re:Now, in the US! (2)

Pecisk (688001) | more than 2 years ago | (#38992693)

You really *don't* have a fucking clue what's going on in Russia, do you? Completely empty buzzword comparison. While of course it's oligarchy, however it is totally different in execution.

Believe me, what's going on with Capitalism in US and the world is bad enough on their own. There's no need to attach it to to every criticism on Russia :)

Re:The horror! (2)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38988661)

I am disgusted to discover that a politician would hire people to say nice things about them and bad things about their opponents. This must stop at once.

Things in Russia are more like they are now than they have ever been before.

Re:The horror! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38988903)

I am disgusted to discover that a politician would hire people to say nice things about them and bad things about their opponents. This must stop at once.

Damned right it must stop. IBM has a patent on the process.

Re:The horror! (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#38990087)

I am disgusted to discover that a politician would hire people to say nice things about them and bad things about their opponents. This must stop at once.

It's not that which is the problem. It's that Putin, UR and people backing them claim "widespread popular support" as a justification for why they needn't bother dealing with the opposition at all. Some go further and claim that it even gives them legitimacy to crack down on the protests.

If there's good evidence that said "popular support" is not genuine but just an expensive fake, it strongly undermines the legitimacy of the current government and their recent actions.

Re:The horror! (1)

radarradar (2565457) | more than 2 years ago | (#38991437)

Exactly the same thing happens here. For example, while current Wisc. gov. Scott Walker was Milwaukee County Executive, his staff was busy writing posts on local newspaper sites, writing letters to the editor, etc., all in preparation for his run for higher office. Now playing in a federal investigation near me! The Walker people were incompetent enough to get caught, but who could doubt that this goes on every minute of every day here in nuestra Estados Unidos.

Putin is a putz, but America should put its own house in order.

now if only (0)

superwiz (655733) | more than 2 years ago | (#38988481)

Someone got hold of the emails which actually connected Russia and China to the AGW proponents, the circle would be complete. But, in general, I am anything but surprised.

Re:now if only (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38989019)

Unfortunately, for language reasons, those emails are written entirely in Esperanto. On the good side, the people on both ends attempting to translate to/from Esperanto don't know it either, so their grand conspiracy plans all ended up very badly misaligned. AGW proponents tried to say something about turning off Russia's coal plants as a show of devotion to the cause, and the Russian translater read that as a request that they develop an intercontinental ballistic snowball.

Re:now if only (1)

superwiz (655733) | more than 2 years ago | (#38989305)

Are familiar with the old Russian word "sabotage"? I would mention something about Chekhov impersonation here, but you might misunderstand and think that I am talking about one of your great authors.

Re:now if only (4, Informative)

SplashMyBandit (1543257) | more than 2 years ago | (#38990981)

Lol. "Sabotage" comes from French, not Russian.

A "sabot" is a shoe (in French), and the association comes from when Dutch workers would place their shows in machinery that was threatening to replace them (eg. these were the French-speaking equivalent of the English Luddites). Hence, "Sabot-age". The Russians have many cool words, but sabotage does not originate with them, Comrade Slashdotter.

Darn it. (1)

lxs (131946) | more than 2 years ago | (#38988483)

I read that as "astrosurfing program" and it sounded a lot better than a couple of hired goons shilling for Uncle Vlad. Oh well...

Cool, brah. (1)

zooblethorpe (686757) | more than 2 years ago | (#38988639)

I read that as "astrosurfing program" and it sounded a lot better than a couple of hired goons shilling for Uncle Vlad. Oh well...

For make glorious People's Republic of Brah, brah.

Re:Darn it. (1, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38988689)

I read that as "astrosurfing program" and it sounded a lot better than a couple of hired goons shilling for Uncle Vlad. Oh well...

The word on the street is that you abuse houseplants and extort cheese from small rodents.

Lie! (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38988543)

This lie! No such program exist. Subversive Western propaganda! Everyone love dear leader Putin. Da, comrades?

Re:Lie! (1)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#38989023)

Yes, just like everyone here in America loves dear leader Obama.

Re:Lie! (1, Interesting)

wierd_w (1375923) | more than 2 years ago | (#38989107)

Am I the only one who gigglesnorted after reading this?

I don't want to sound trollish, but obama was practically heralded as the chosen one, and anyone who spoke out against him was reflexively labeled a racisist biggot.....

So, now its perfectly possible to say he's a douche who shouldn't have been elected, and not be called a racisist fuck?

When did that happen? I'm honestly curious.......

Re:Lie! (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38989181)

Of course he should have been elected, at least once he made it past the primary. We're pretty much stuck electing Democrats until the Republicans marginalize the ignorant religious conservatives who have taken over their party. Being racist, superstitious, and still believing in trickle-down economics at this late date completely disqualifies them for office.

Re:Lie! (1, Flamebait)

Grishnakh (216268) | more than 2 years ago | (#38989565)

No, he never should have been elected. All the stuff that was levied against him back then, that he was inexperienced, had no real voting record ("present!"), that his connections were shady, were all true and smart voters should have picked someone else. There was a whole field of better Democrats running in the 2008 primaries, and every single one of them was better than Obama, but the stupid Democrat voters managed to pick the absolute worst choice of them all. Even Hillary would have been better, and she would have been a corporate whore too, but at least she would have made some kind of attempt at pleasing the Democratic voters. Kucinich would have been the best choice IMO. He actually has a real record of pushing for change and standing up for the voters over corporations and thugs; he was almost assassinated for it while he was mayor of Cleveland and didn't go along with the conspiracy to privatize the power company there.

Instead, the voters picked someone who is even worse than Bush, is even more Republican/fascist/corrupt in his policies than Bush, and what's really shameful is around half of them are so stupid they've completely changed their political positions and turned into fascists themselves so that they don't have to admit to themselves that they made a stupid choice, and they defend him at every opportunity.

As for being "stuck electing Democrats", the problem here is that occasionally, a different Democrat does pop up who shows some promise, but the stupid Democrat voters instead vote for or support a Republican who calls himself a Democrat (like Obama). Why aren't the Dem voters talking about the primaries, for instance? They're perfectly capable of throwing Obama out and electing someone else. There's some guy named Darcy running against him; I haven't looked into him closely but on the face of it he sure looks a lot better than Obama, and actually has some real credentials about pursuing Democrat-friendly policies, but no one ever talks about him, neither in the media (no surprise) or on message boards; instead it's always "toe the party line! we must support Obama at all costs! it doesn't matter what Obama's policies and actions are, we must support him!" The whole thing is disgusting, and simply makes me despise my countrymen.

Re:Lie! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38992503)

We're pretty much stuck electing Republicans until the Democrats marginalize the ignorant progressives who have taken over their party. Being racist anti-Semites, blame America firsters, and still believing in slowing the economy to a trickle economics at this late date completely disqualifies them for office.

Crazy progressives! Keep them out of office before the country is destroyed!

Bitter pills! Get your bitter pills! (And that's not even considering Obamacare)

Re:Lie! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38989439)

Am I the only one who gigglesnorted after reading this?

I don't want to sound trollish, but obama was practically heralded as the chosen one, and anyone who spoke out against him was reflexively labeled a racisist biggot.....

So, now its perfectly possible to say he's a douche who shouldn't have been elected, and not be called a racisist fuck?

When did that happen? I'm honestly curious.......

But then (2008), as now, consider the alternative -- back then it was McCain and everyone's favorite moron. Now it's the Obama vs. The Three Stooges. I'll give you one guess who Curly is....

Re:Lie! (0)

wierd_w (1375923) | more than 2 years ago | (#38989607)

McCain and salmon breath were disqualified on grounds of being clearly chaotic evil, and stupid, respectively.

Obama was just a charismatic lair with a hollywood-bright, bleached-white smile, selling obvious lies that everyone seemed eager to lap up, because "OMG! He's black!"

Political office should never be a popularity contest, or a "Mr.America" pagent. His skincolor mattered as much then as it does now. That is to say, it matters to fuck all nothing.

The problem was that people who said "he's clearly a lieing douche, because the numbers on his promises just don't fucking add up!" Were derided as being "clearly racist".

Personally? Right now i'd rather vote for kodos.

Never in the USA (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38988557)

This could never happen in the USA.

Re:Never in the USA (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38988715)

Of course not. In the USA, it's perfectly legal to shutdown any site, sue the hell out of the owner, bankrupt them, even if they're eventually proven innocent, or have their domains seized just because someone said you use a VPN.

Re:Never in the USA (1)

superwiz (655733) | more than 2 years ago | (#38988857)

What exactly? US government putting on payrolls people who would troll the net trashing a particular country in order to benefit election outcomes of a political party in the US? Well, there is any number of laws which this would break in the US.

Bush did it. (1)

bussdriver (620565) | more than 2 years ago | (#38989003)

Bush did it and like everything else no laws apply to him. ever. Like Nixon said, its not illegal if the president does it.
Only was caught with a half dozen or so; here is the top google result I found in no time: http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/01/26/politics/main669432.shtml [cbsnews.com]

Re:Bush did it. (1)

superwiz (655733) | more than 2 years ago | (#38989223)

Bush administration did NOT adapt the policy "if the President does it, it's not illegal." Your point about the columnist is very, very keen, but that administration did clear everything with lawyers. And employing a journalist to promote a life-style that HHS considers healthy (even if you disagree with that assessment) is a far, far cry from employing journalists to spread subversive information about other countries in order to influence elections in the home country. Having said that, I would agree that the Bush administration came a little too close to the line of breaking the law on this one. And yes, it is veeery troubling. I am surprised, however, that you chose the Bush administration as your example. The current administration completely ignores the law on just about everything. It does so brazenly, openly and unapologeticlly.

And yes, the fact that the Obama administration is breaking laws as brazenly as it does is scandalous. The fact that Russia is actively working to promote and defend its nationalist policies through propaganda is also scandalous. Both are symptoms of the same disease: no one likes giving up power voluntarily.

Btw, the only reason that Russia's actions are even surprising while China's aren't is that everyone assumes that China is a military dictatorship. Yes, military rather than Communist dictatorship. It hasn't been Communist for so long that a different denomination has to be used.

Re:Bush did it. (1)

bussdriver (620565) | more than 2 years ago | (#38992239)

Your bias is showing. Obama IS using his lawyers and building upon what Bush did and taking it to the next logical step. He is not breaking the laws any more than Bush did (so yes, I think he is breaking them too;) he is a continuation, it is almost as if Bush was still in office on some issues. It is almost as if somebody else is running the agenda and either dictating policy moves or makes sure both parties think the same way on certain issues. It looks like a good cop bad cop situation to me; some see obama as the good cop and others saw bush as the good cop. I don't give a rip for the social issue placating either side does while the real important stuff goes unnoticed.

Just because some evil lawyer says something is legal does not make it legal; if YOUR lawyer said something was legal and you did it, you would be the one in court and being punished for it.

Re:Never in the USA (2)

smash (1351) | more than 2 years ago | (#38990499)

The brainwashing over there in the states is sufficiently complete enough that you have enough xenophobic ass-clowns available to do it themselves WITHOUT pay.

illegal maybe, but it's done (1)

radarradar (2565457) | more than 2 years ago | (#38992559)

There's stuff like the Pentagon's military analyst program. See

http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Pentagon_military_analyst_program [sourcewatch.org]

In fact, media massaging is so pervasive in the political culture that even local pols do it. Check this out:

http://motherjones.com/politics/2012/02/scott-walker-john-doe-investigation-explained [motherjones.com]

Tu Quoque? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38988601)

So Russia is no better in this regard than China, the U.S., and Israel.

Re:Tu Quoque? (3, Insightful)

superwiz (655733) | more than 2 years ago | (#38988907)

Well, worse than Israel, that's for sure. Israel has legitimate security concerns, most of which, by the way, stem from Russian geo-political policies rather than from any of their own doing. It was Russia that goaded Egypt into wars with Israel. It was Russia that built both of Iran's nuclear reactors. It was Russia that supplied Syria with tanks that almost over-ran Israel. I don't recall Israel supplying half of Russia's neighbors with weapons to attack Israel, so I am pretty sure Israel has a higher moral ground in this one.

Re:Tu Quoque? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38989245)

Israel has legitimate security concerns, most of which, by the way, stem from Russian geo-political policies

No. Israel has self-inflicted security concerns from acting as if they are a cut above the rest of the world's people and treating every non-Israeli with complete and utter disdain and contempt (and many countries collectively as sub-human) while conducting themselves as if they are above the laws to which every other country in the world is subject.

They have only been able to get away with this because they have owned the big dumb heavily-armed bullies (the US) lock, stock and barrel for decades. If you don't belive that, you need to find out who the biggest lobbyist group in the US is. Hint: it's called AIPAC.

Re:Tu Quoque? (1)

superwiz (655733) | more than 2 years ago | (#38989277)

I would respond to this rhetorical nonsense, but I suspect that it's just another tool used to deflect attention away from the issue of Russian propaganda.

Re:Tu Quoque? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38989611)

And it would seem that you're a tool deflecting attention away from Israel's crimes.

Re:Tu Quoque? (1)

superwiz (655733) | more than 2 years ago | (#38989755)

Israel is not the subject of the article. Russia and China are the topic under discussion.

Re:Tu Quoque? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38989849)

Actually, the topic is Russia's astroturfing. The only relevance your post had to the topic at hand was its astroturfing for the terrorist welfare state of Israel.

Re:Tu Quoque? (2)

superwiz (655733) | more than 2 years ago | (#38990421)

Umm. You are posting as an AC. I have over 900 posts over more than 10 years on this site. You can't possibly be arguing that I am astroturfing. Well, you can possibly be arguing that. Just not credibly.

Someone compared Israel to Russia's propaganda. I pointed out that comparison was laughable. But let me see. So first you tried a deflection. When that didn't work, you went for the ad hominem. When I reminded you that you were off the topic, you decided to go with projection. Do you have a list that you follow? Or do these float around in your ahead and you reach for whichever one make your more giddy?

No matter. My point stands. Russia is using the old Soviet tactics. Blaming Israel is one of many old Soviet tactics (because Israel gets people emotional and unable to evaluate the situation rationally). The main way of staying in power during a crisis of confidence is to manufacture a new crises. Just as blaming the Jews was an old Russian tactic, blaming Israel works beautifully. It's just statistically convenient -- smaller population means pissing off the least people while the crises unfolds.

Oh, and just so we are clear, the difference between astroturf and grass roots is that it's not astroturfing if no one pays you for it. If my own opinion happens to agree with that of what you'd call "Israeli propaganda", it's still not astroturfing. It just means that I buy their story. Ie, it's still grass roots. Whereas, the opinions that Russia bought to have trolled around are astroturf.

I am awaiting with anticipation to see what's on the list after the projection.

Re:Tu Quoque? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38989811)

I would respond to this rhetorical nonsense, but I suspect that it's just another tool used to deflect attention away from the issue of Russian propaganda.

OK, so you're a shill for Israel (and not a very bright one). Your unwillingness to acknowledge the truth, your lack of any effort to refute the stated facts, plus your sickly paranoid suggestion of redirection are a complete giveaway.

It's time for Israel to stop acting like victims - the world isn't buying that bullshit any more. Israel comes across as a cranky, childish trouble-maker that creates its own troubles through its miserable disrespect for any and all non-Israelis, or dogs as many Israelis think of them (especially its own local evolutionary cousins), and its disrespect for international law. ISRAEL looks to be Israel's own worst enemy.

Re:Tu Quoque? (3, Informative)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#38990165)

I don't recall Israel supplying half of Russia's neighbors with weapons to attack Israel

Did you mean to write "weapons to attack Russia"?

If so, then you might find it interesting that Israel has supplied [time.com] Georgian army with UAVs, NVDs, AA systems, and many other things - all the stuff used during the war in South Ossetia, which, may I remind, was started by a Georgian attack on the area of responsibility of Russian UN peacekeeping force, and specifically on said peacekeeping force (10 people KIA from hostile fire - artillery and tanks shelled peacekeepers' barracks).

Re:Tu Quoque? (1)

cold fjord (826450) | more than 2 years ago | (#38992733)

...the war in South Ossetia, which, may I remind, was started by a Georgian attack on the area of responsibility of Russian UN peacekeeping force, and specifically on said peacekeeping force (10 people KIA from hostile fire - artillery and tanks shelled peacekeepers' barracks).

Well......

On Thursday of last week, South Ossetian separatists, supported by Moscow, escalated their machine gun and mortar fire attacks against neighboring Georgian villages. This past Thursday and Friday, Georgia attacked the separatist capital Tskhinvali with artillery to suppress fire. Tskhinvali suffered severe damage, thus providing the pretext for Moscow's long-planned invasion of Georgia.

As Russia responded with overwhelming force, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin flew from the Beijing Olympics to Vladikavkaz, taking control of the military operations. Putin sidelined his successor, Dmitry Medvedev, thereby leaving no doubt as to who is in charge. The 58th Russian Army of the North Caucasus Military District rolled into South Ossetia, reinforced by the 76th Airborne "Pskov" Division. Cossacks from the neighboring Russian territories moved in to combat the Georgians as well.

Russia is engaged in a classic combined arms operation. The Black Sea Fleet is blockading Georgia from the sea and likely preparing a landing, while Russian ballistic missiles and its air force are attacking Georgian military bases and cities. At the time of this writing, it looks as if Russian troops will not stop at the South Ossetian-Georgian border but may press their advantage further. -- The Russian-Georgian War: A Challenge for the U.S. and the World [heritage.org]

The war has fundamentally transformed the realities on the ground in and around the conflict zones. Russia’s military intervention in support of South Ossetians and its peacekeeping forces has transformed its role from a mediator into a party of the conflict. Furthermore, Russia’s recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states and its decision to veto the extension of the UN and OSCE missions operating in these conflict zones have led to a collapse of the peace process. This has led to the emergence of a dangerous security vacuum. A new security system has emerged on the ground with the establishment of Russian military bases and border guard units in Abkhazia and South Ossetia. Georgia sees this as evidence of Russian occupation of its territories which are still recognised as part of Georgia by the absolute majority of the UN member states. Moreover, the presence of unarmed EU monitors on the Georgian side of the administrative border line with Abkhazia and South Ossetia, has not been effective in helping to resolve humanitarian problems associated with the war nor to prevent or minimise the violent incidents within the conflict zone. The Geneva discussions co-chaired by the EU, OSCE and UN offer the only platform for political dialogue between representatives from Russia, Georgia, US, as well as experts from Abkhazia and South Ossetia, in regard to post-war challenges. - Analysis of the Russian-Georgian war [iiss.org]

More: The Five-Day War [foreignaffairs.com]

I think it would require a fair amount of cheek to imply that Georgia constituted an actual threat to Russia. On the other hand, Russia almost managed to repeat the Soviet "success" of Finland in the war with Georgia.

ASTROTURFING by slashdot user Putin (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38988613)

Slashdot user Vladimir Putin, and his sockpuppet accounts are posting pro-soviet Russia propaganda. Don't believe a word of it.

Commies (0)

Spliffster (755587) | more than 2 years ago | (#38988649)

Propaganda is only something for commies

Re:Commies (2)

Johann Lau (1040920) | more than 2 years ago | (#38988865)

Yeah... good thing Slashdot is completey squeaky clean of it :D

Re:Commies (2)

Spliffster (755587) | more than 2 years ago | (#38989587)

sry, i forgot the sarcasm tag.

Re:Commies (1)

Johann Lau (1040920) | more than 2 years ago | (#38990267)

Sarcasm? That is so unamerican not even a stinkin' commie would dare to use it!!! For shame. >:[

This is pretty common PR tactic (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38988657)

Apple's been doing it for years.

Quod Est Demonstratum (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38988905)

mod = -1;

I wish to express outrage over this bad reporting (5, Funny)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 2 years ago | (#38988707)

This poor news coverage by _SLASHDOT_ is clearly aimed at making the Russian People's leader look bad to this _AMERICAN_ audience. As a Russian _MAN_ aged _32_, I can conclusively state that Mr. Putin has been a blessing to my country. I look forward to his continuing to lead us throught _2012_ and in the future.

Signed,
_MyLongNickName_

Re:I wish to express outrage over this bad reporti (1)

superwiz (655733) | more than 2 years ago | (#38988947)

Umm... cute. I assume you are trying to imply that you forgot to substitute the values of the macros in that post?

Re:I wish to express outrage over this bad reporti (2)

iroll (717924) | more than 2 years ago | (#38989561)

No, he's implying that he input values into blanks on a boilerplate response.

Re:I wish to express outrage over this bad reporti (1)

JSG (82708) | more than 2 years ago | (#38990335)

Gosh, isn't English subtle!

You have managed to correct Mr 655733's interpretation of Mr 822545's comment with a functionally equivalent interpretation.

As for Mr 822545 - he should have done a better job of underlining. He simply should have typed the words and then used backspace on his typewriter and then put in the underscores. Isn't progress great?

Cheers
Jon

Re:I wish to express outrage over this bad reporti (1)

iroll (717924) | more than 2 years ago | (#38990633)

Sort of; technically, I reversed part of his interpretation and clarified nuance in the rest. So, while some of the functions (macro vs. blank) might be equivalent, the interpretation is not. Viz.:

  • Mr. 655 thinks Mr. 822 was implying that he forgot to fill in the blanks. I believe the opposite, that Mr. 822 was implying that he was filling in blanks.
  • M4. 655 thinks that Mr. 822 was implying electronic substitution, whereas I believe that Mr. 822 was only implying blank-filling; this could be accomplished electronically or manually.

Anyways, if Mr. 822 was filling out the kinds of official documents that seem to appear most commonly in my office, he had to delete those underscores to keep Word from wrapping them and blowing up the table that the sadistic form author used to format the whole damned thing ;-) He probably would be better off printing it out, and then taking it to the typewriter.

Re:I wish to express outrage over this bad reporti (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#38990187)

You forgot to mention that this slanderous publication was funded by the U.S. Department of Defense in order to destabilize progress and development in Russia.

That's -50% from your pay, by the way. Be more attentive next time. ~

Re:I wish to express outrage over this bad reporti (1)

SplashMyBandit (1543257) | more than 2 years ago | (#38990991)

+6 Funny

Russians are faget (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38988727)

That whole country is faget.

Re:Russians are faget (2)

superwiz (655733) | more than 2 years ago | (#38988931)

PR stunt #37: assume the position opposite of the one you promote and make sure you sound extremely stupid when you defend it.

If they've been paying for that... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38988767)

...they should ask their money back. That's all.

C'mon, now (0)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | more than 2 years ago | (#38988887)

They gotta be Putin us on!

putin us on (1)

msheekhah (903443) | more than 2 years ago | (#38988961)

I am a CIA plant. Prove me wrong.

Re:putin us on (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#38990209)

I am a CIA plant. Prove me wrong.

Last I checked, plants can't type, being mostly immobile. ~

I will comment, but first, an important question: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38988967)

Are we for or against the "Ruskies" today?

Not a surprise (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#38989007)

Every political party in every country with internet in it has paid commenters. I believe most people here have already seen more than enough of them.

Job Posting: Corporate Communications (3, Interesting)

garthsundem (1702946) | more than 2 years ago | (#38989057)

A country recently named a 2012 Top Cock-Blocker of Middle Eastern Democracy, is seeking a Public Relations Specialist to communicate to its internal, external, and exiled audiences. The position will be responsible for connecting with our 141,750,000+ domestic "employees", introducing new employees and interns to our country's unique culture, expanding its social networking reach, maintaining the corporate website, event planning, cultivating community relationships, responding to media inquiries, writing and disseminating press releases, coaching our subsidiaries on their individual PR needs, crushing dissent, and mentoring an intern. The ideal candidate is self-directed and self-motivated, resourceful, tactful, and enjoys kicking puppies. You must be a persuasive writer and speaker. Your success will be measured by your creativity and your ability to ruin the lives of dissenters and their extended families with little to no supervision. A college degree plus five years or more experience in a corporate PR or Spanish Inquisitional environment is required. Please submit a brief writing sample with your resume and your soul to PR@Putin.com. Salary commensurate with experience.

Re:Job Posting: Corporate Communications (1)

smash (1351) | more than 2 years ago | (#38990469)

I take issue with your use of "democracy". Military coup installed puppet governments don't really count.

10 year old news (2)

alexmin (938677) | more than 2 years ago | (#38989213)

To those who read Russian interwebs since '90 the rise of government astroturfing should have been obvious starting about '00. There was a marked change in tone and verbage of forum comments on different online forums. Such posters are called "brigades" and thought to be FSB operatives.

Active on Wikipedia, too? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38989289)

Not surprised, I've been a little suspicious of certain edits of Wikipedia articles involving Putin and his allies/rivals as well. Originally I figured it was just their nationalist contingent exerting pressure -- but this explanation makes a lot of sense too.

Outrage in 3, 2, 1.... (1)

Pecisk (688001) | more than 2 years ago | (#38989335)

....Ohhh, nevermind :)

This is actually non-news. Everyone with long enough experience with web for last four years have seen them at almost any article or resource giving Russia, Soviet Union or Kremlin bad rep. Wikipedia articles about USSR or about Bolshevist crimes - those pages have experienced heavy shelling from these guys. They are obsessed with pointing that you are wrong, not they.

I don't even care about them anymore. I'm just sad that such big country and yet they are living in paranoia, investing almost nothing in infrastructure, but in same time waste their money to play hardliners and allow people to die (yeah, about Syria), and meddling with politics in their neighborhood countries. You can't get your respect in such way.

Re:Outrage in 3, 2, 1.... (1)

shutdown -p now (807394) | more than 2 years ago | (#38990239)

I don't even care about them anymore. I'm just sad that such big country and yet they are living in paranoia, investing almost nothing in infrastructure, but in same time waste their money to play hardliners and allow people to die (yeah, about Syria), and meddling with politics in their neighborhood countries. You can't get your respect in such way.

I hope you do understand the difference between "them" as in Russian government, and "them" as in Russian people - especially when the country is not exactly democratic. People are actively working [wikipedia.org] at changing that last part right now, which would hopefully also let us do something about those things you're complaining about, or at least some of them (I don't think a post-Putin Russia would back Assad, for example). But it doesn't help when you choose to "not care anymore".

Re:Outrage in 3, 2, 1.... (2)

smash (1351) | more than 2 years ago | (#38990425)

I don't even care about them anymore. I'm just sad that such big country and yet they are living in paranoia, investing almost nothing in infrastructure, but in same time waste their money to play hardliners and allow people to die (yeah, about Syria), and meddling with politics in their neighborhood countries. You can't get your respect in such way

Sounds pretty much exactly the same as the USA to me. Replace Syria with, oh I dunno... Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Vietnam, Korea, Same shit, different media spin. If you think you lot living over there in the US are currently living in a *legitimate* democracy, you're fucking kidding yourselves. Obama (new bush) = same as the old bush, pretty much. Just has charisma.

Better summary (2)

fibonacci8 (260615) | more than 2 years ago | (#38989433)

Russia and China also have super pacs.

stinkin ruskies (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38989559)

I'm qualify to say this cuz my own asshole don't stink.

We have something similar here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38989795)

"Quoting The Guardian: 'A pro-Kremlin group runs a network of internet trolls, seeks to buy flattering coverage of Vladimir Putin and hatches plans to discredit opposition activists and media" ...called the Democratic Party.

well, considering.. (2)

smash (1351) | more than 2 years ago | (#38990383)

... the last 50-60 years of western anti-soviet propaganda, its only fair.

Well Syria's Assad has Huffington Post (1)

gelfling (6534) | more than 2 years ago | (#38990481)

What's fair is fair.

The difference between the US and this is (3, Informative)

melted (227442) | more than 2 years ago | (#38992499)

The difference between the US and this is that in Russia this is paid for with enormous amounts of taxpayer money (hired drummers alone at a pro-Puting meeting cost something like $800K), and people are threatened with pink slips at work unless they go to pro-government meetings. When you live hand to mouth and don't have any savings, the prospect of getting fired over some BS meeting is pretty scary. And when the election time rolls around, they stuff the ballot boxes, and then if that proves insufficient, simply rewrite final counts when no one is looking. That country is truly ruled by a bunch of crooks and thieves. Can't wait to see the Russian people to hang them on the "teeth" of the Kremlin wall. They did this a hundred years ago, they can do it again. Russia just can't catch a fucking break.

Hardly surprising (1)

FilatovEV (1520307) | more than 2 years ago | (#38993223)

I live in Russia. I think, there's no problem with bloggers and activists receiving money, as long as they report their sources of income to the public. I think that the monetary support of some bloggers by the Nashi group is a response to the American aid programs (National Endowment for Democracy) to all sorts of activists in Russia. Essentially, the problem is not with the money -- the problem is with transparency and accountability. If I read some person's blog, I would like to know if he or she receives American or Russian money. For those Americans who do not understand what's wrong with the activities of the National Endowment for Democracy (and similar structures) in Russia, let me say, that there's nothing similar to the Foreign Agents Registration Act in the Russian legislature. The NED is not accountable to me, a citizen of Russia. So, yes, I view it as a security threat. Implementing the Foreign Agents Registration Act in Russia would take a lot of effort, but I believe it's the only possible way in the end. But as long as we do not have that law, I cannot feel outrageos about the Nashi support of some bloggers.
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