August 25, 2015
Today’s news is impressive even compared to the usual madhouse. The ruble has “stabilized” at just under seventy to the dollar. Vasilyeva, a minister’s lover who stole millions, was released “for good behavior” almost immediately after being sentenced [in May of this year], while the filmmaker Sentsov, who stole nothing and killed no one, was sentenced to twenty years in prison for “terrorism.” Rospotrebnadzor [The Federal Service for Supervision of Consumer Rights Protection and Human Well-Being], which has now replaced the chief sanitary inspector, has banned imported washing products in order to “protect consumers.” And someone else tried to block access to Wikipedia, because it contained “extremism” or something of the sort. The symptoms are clear.
Sergey Abashin is British Petroleum Professor of Migration Studies at the European University in Saint Petersburg. His most recent book is Sovetskii kishlak: Mezhdu kolonializmom i modernizatsiei [The Soviet Central Asian village: between colonialism and modernization], Moscow: Novoe literaturnoe obozrenie, 2015. Translated and annotated by the Russian Reader. Photo of Bruce Willis and Russian flag wavers courtesy of Google Images.
Since this blog is anarchist in its editorial methods, if not, usually, in its takes on events, I was happy today to learn about this valuable new attempt at socking it to the Man:
On DailyPaywall.com, tens of thousands of articles have been gleaned daily from mainstream online news sources such as the Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, and The Economist.
After signing up for paid accounts with the targeted news sources, the artist created a script that automatically pulled entire articles from these sites and reposted them onto DailyPaywall.com. With a sophisticated exploit into the authentication system, these media outlets have been forced to release all their published content, with an average of 200 items a day, fetching in total over 50,000 articles during the whole year of 2014.
The artist then sifted through hundreds of articles, collecting the most significant to unveil contradictions surrounding contemporary global economy. He then edited and published a few issues of his own financial newspaper, Daily Paywall, which is publicly available online and in printed form for distribution as a free paper in newsracks disseminated throughout NYC.
On DailyPaywall.com, the artist designed an interface to allow people to read and search through the huge database of articles for free. Online users can also participate in the project through sharing and rating the articles as well as suggesting questions and answers for selected news.
Ultimately, the artist has formulated a system for readers to submit their answers to quizzes on a few featured articles, and has planned to implement a payment process which will be able to issue funds to readers who’ve answered these questions correctly and also to journalists that readers have opted to pay.
Here are two interesting and all-too-zeitgeistyish articles on Russian matters posted there just yesterday: