I found out via fellow Livejournaler tilia-tomentosa that Livejournal’s Cyrillic-script section will be altering the metrics it displays so as to avoid Russian censorship. The situation is examined in detail by Global Voices’ Andrey Tselikov.
A bill that will equate popular bloggers with mass media [Global Voices report] has passed Russia’s lower house of parliament, the Duma. All that remains now are the rather perfunctory steps of passing the Federation Council, and approval by President Vladimir Putin. It now appears a fait accompli that starting with August 1, 2014 Russian bloggers with over 3,000 daily unique readers will be required to register in the same way an online newspaper does. However, some RuNet giants are already fighting back, proving ahead of time that enforcing such a law will be a logistical nightmare.
Earlier, Yandex.ru, Russia’s most powerful search engine, stopped ranking blogs [Global Voices report] on its website. Now, on April 23 Dmitry Pilipenko, head of LiveJournal Russia, posted [ru] the following news in his LJ blog:
Starting today, all blog and community profiles where the number of subscribers ["friends" -ed.] is larger than two and a half thousand, will display 2,500+ instead of the actual number of users who are “Friends of”. The actual number will be available only to owners of blogs or the moderators of communities.
I must add that these changes only affect those users who use the Cyrillic services of LiveJournal.
The rating of users and communities, which was formed based on page-views, will also stop.
The above changes are based on plans to take measures to optimize the service. All coincidences are accidental.
Not coincidentally, Alexei Navalny–a Russian social critic and aspiring politician who uses Livejournal for his blog–is shifting from that service. Again, Global Voices’ Tselikov notes.
Russia’s most famous blogger (or as he describes himself: “corruption fighter, son, husband, father”) has been forced to move away from LiveJournal, the popular blogging platform that launched him to fame in the first place. As a result of government mandated censorship [Global Voices report], and notwithstanding attempts to counteract such censorship [Global Voices report], Alexey Navalny’s team has started a new standalone blog, navalny.com [ru]. Because Navalny is still under house arrest, the blog is technically run by his wife. According to the first post [ru], this blog is an attempt to create a clean slate with Russia’s Internet regulators, who claim that Navalny’s old blog contains calls for unlawful rallies. At this point, Navalny’s LiveJournal account [ru] has stopped updating with original content — it simply links to new posts on navalny.com.
I’ve been using Livejournal for just under twelve years. I quite like the service, and the communities associated with said.
I’m also wondering whether it’s time to give it up. All of my content has been copied over to Livejournal clone Dreamwidth. More usefully, it’s all on WordPress, here. If Russian censorship continued to undermine Livejournal, will I have any more reasoned to stay with an increasingly compromised platform? Tselikov notes that, proclamations of Internet freedom aside, the Russian government can always intrude on Livejournal’s servers at will.