In Russia’s Blogosphere, Anything Goes

Walk into a typical Moscow newsroom and chances are good that half the people in your field of vision will be logged on to Zhivoi Zhurnal, the Russian incarnation of the American blog-hosting service LiveJournal. But these journalists aren’t just slacking off. In a country still searching, sometimes desperately, for the trappings of a civil society, they are navigating what promises to be its launchpad.In Western media, blogs in developing countries are often portrayed as a counterweight to state censorship. Not here. From organizing flash mobs that poke fun at the rudeness of Moscow’s babushkas to making or breaking political pundits’ careers, bloggers are becoming a lively alternative to mainstream media. The question is whether the site represents an electronic upgrade of the traditional political discourse that once flourished in Soviet-era kitchens or an entirely new platform for grassroots organizing.

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