A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

[WRITING] On the death of Livejournal, part x (Kazakhstan)

Going through IWPR’s recent archives, I was very surprised to see the article “LiveJournal Returns in Kazakstan, But Now Facebook is King”, by one Botagoz Seidakhmetova, which noted that the ban on Livejournal had been lifted in Kazakhstan in November after four years. That it had been banned at all is something I had been unaware of–Global Voices had noticed this back in September 2011, but I had not seen it.

The authorities in Kazakstan have unblocked the LiveJournal blogging website, four years after shutting down access to it.

A government statement on November 11 said the decision was taken after unlawful material – religious and extremist propaganda and information about weapons – were deleted.

[. . .]

Commentators suspect that LiveJournal incurred anger because opposition leaders based abroad used it as a platform for attacking the government. One was Rahat Aliev, former son-in-law of President Nursultan Nazarbaev, who went into exile after being prosecuted, and proceeded to publish allegations of wrongdoing by Kazakstan’s leaders.

Aliev is no longer a threat to the government – he committed suicide in a Vienna prison in February 2015.

In all likelihood, LiveJournal is no longer relevant since most of its users have shifted to Facebook.

Pavel Bannikov, a Russian-language poet who used to use LiveJournal, recalls how influential it used to be – literary journals would find new content on the site and approach writers to seek permission to print their poetry.

“It’s good that LiveJournal has reopened. But in Kazakstan, LiveJournal won’t become what it was in 2007, when everyone used it as a news source,” Bannikov added. “I’ve noticed that in the last three years, virtually all the active, engaging users – the ones you’d like to read and hear their views – have gone over to Facebook.”

In that Livejournal, no longer a global contender, seems to be now substantially limited to the Russophone world, that it has been so thoroughly kneecapped in one of the largest Russophone countries about is not a good sign. The damage inflicted just can’t be reversed, not without some further and wholly unexpected shift.

Written by Randy McDonald

January 25, 2016 at 10:47 pm

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