September 5, 2016
Despite all the talk of Russia being a “police state,” they actually have a lot more freedom than we do.
The deputy head of the presidential administration, Vyacheslav Volodin, has said that Russia has more internet freedom than the United States, where people receive prison sentences for online comments about President Barack Obama.
Volodin was giving a press conference in the central Russian city of Tambov, where a local reporter asked him to comment on the possibility of introducing a rule that would require social networks to obtain ID from their users “so that people could know who is on the other side of the internet.” The official replied that unlike many countries, Russia has chosen self-regulation on the internet and he saw no need to change this.
“Now we are capable of solving various issues through self-regulation and a ban on distribution of information about illegal drugs, suicide and extremism. Society has a need for this.”
He also noted that Russia had more internet freedom than other nations, in particular the United States.
“Take a look at the legal practice. Have you ever heard about court processes initiated by [Russian] civil servants and senior officials against ordinary internet users over even the most harsh statements made on the internet?” Volodin asked journalists.
A woman in the audience answered that a man had once attempted to sue her for dissemination of discrediting materials about him on the internet, but failed as police and prosecutors refused to recognize her material as unlawful. “You can see that prosecutors protect you. And if you take a look at the US statistics, even over the past six months, you will see that several people there received prison sentences between 12 and 18 months for their posts about President Obama,” Volodin told journalists.
“Ask yourselves – who has more democracy – us or them?” he concluded.
The official did not specify which legal cases he was talking about, but this could be the arrest of John Martin Roos – a 61-year-old Wisconsin man who was detained in April this year for threatening the US president on social media. Police also found weapons and several pipe bombs as they searched Roos’ home. He has not yet been sentenced. In 2013, Donte Jamar Sims from Florida was sentenced to six months in prison plus one year of supervised release for making threats to President Obama over Twitter.
Yeah, well, maybe those two guys did deserve it lol.
But the fact remains: you don’t have the kind of bizarre nanny-like intrusions into people’s personal lives in Russia that you have in the West.
This is why many people are switching from Facebook to VK. They don’t constantly censor you.