SCREENING: The rise and fall of the Russian Internet and the threat of Putin’s ‘foreign agent’ law
- TUESDAY, JANUARY 14, 2020 4:30 PM
- ATLANTIC COUNCIL
- 1030 15TH ST. NW, 12TH FLOOR
- WASHINGTON, DC 20005
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The story of the Internet in Russia, from the rise of the RuNet to the construction of a Kremlin-administered “sovereign Internet,” is fundamentally a story about Russian society under President Vladimir Putin.
From its beginnings in the 1990s, the Russian Internet (RuNet) was envisioned and engineered by its founders as a platform that would “introduce Russians and Americans so the world would be safer.” However, despite its initial promise, it has become a means of “ideological control,” says Russian journalist Andrey Loshak.
InterNYET: A History of The Russian Internet (Холивар: История Рунета), the award-winning seven-part series directed by Loshak for the Current Time digital and TV network, portrays the rise and fall of RuNet. From the shift of website ownership from idealistic digital pioneers to Kremlin-backed investors, the rise of troll factories and Chinese-style “pre-censorship,” the construction of a Kremlin-administered “sovereign Internet,” and the wild trajectories of Internet personalities in between, it is fundamentally a story about Russian society under President Vladimir Putin.
The Atlantic Council is pleased to host the debut screening in the United States of excerpts from InterNYET, as well as a conversation about Russia’s Internet policy and the outlook for online freedom in Russia. Jamie Fly, president of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), and Ambassador Daniel Fried, Weiser Family Distinguished Fellow at the Atlantic Council, will join Loshak to also examine the latest amendments to Russia’s “Foreign Agent” law, set to take effect on February 1, and its impact on independent journalism in Russia. The discussion will be moderated by Melinda Haring, deputy director of the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center.
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Awards and Media
On December 12, 2019, InterNYET received Russia’s national Laurel Branch award as the year’s Best Scientific-Educational Film. The award, bestowed for the 20th year by the Russian Guild of Documentary Cinema, was announced at a ceremony concluding the 2019 ArtDocFest film festival in Moscow.
InterNYET received a Special Jury Prize for journalism in November, 2019 from Open Russia, a non-profit group founded by Russian oligarch-activist Mikhail Khodorkovsky to promote civil rights and democracy in Russia. The jury lauded the production for demonstrating that "Russian journalism is alive despite everything."
In the News
‘Meduza’ interviews creator of new documentary about Russian Internet's rise
– Meduza, 4 September, 2019
From hippies to hackers: New film tracks saga of Russia’s Internet
– The Star (AFP), 11 June, 2019
“When I was a student, Andrey Loshak was one of my idols...While most of his television colleagues either made a quiet compromise with their conscience, or even completely sold it, he remains a decent person and an excellent journalist.” Regarding InterNYET, Dud wrote, it’s "*** awesome."
– Yury Dud, prominent Russian blogger
About The Filmmaker
Andrey Loshak is a Russian TV journalist and filmmaker who considers himself, first and foremost, a reporter. Winner of a TEFI, a prestigious Russian media award, for his television reporting, Loshak has worked for Russia’s national networks NTV and STS. He is the founder of the Takiye Dela (Things Like This) information portal about charitable solutions to social problems.