Blacklisting the Opposition

The Other Russia is running a translation from Yezhednevny Zhurnal about the Russian police’s use of blacklists to track the movements of suspected members of the opposition as well as normal, non-politically active citizens.  One of the other main practitioners of modern blacklists and apartheid-lite (not a term I believe is accurate) is Hugo Chavez, who has created a large and sophisticated database to mete out economic punishment to any member of the opposition, forever barring them from employment in Venezuela’s massive public sector.  (New research has also shown a change in false voter preferences related to these kinds of blacklists – by raising the personal economic costs of opposition, authoritarians can discourage honest voting).

It is interesting to see in this YZ article the descriptions of the use of modern technology to track Russia’s young political leaders through their mobile phones … which reminded me of that Miriam Elder piece about the persecuted spontaneous art collectives who all meet under strict radio silence.  No matter how many blogging schools and presidential video podcasts the government arranges, this kind of heavy-handed big-brotherism will probably become unfavorable among the nation’s youth with time.

Maybe the only way to get around Moscow undetected is to use a Stalin cell phone?