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InterNYET: A History Of The Russian Internet

InterNYET: A History Of The Russian Internet

InterNYET: A History Of The Russian Internet (Холивар: История Рунета) is a seven-episode series by Russian journalist Andrey Loshak that takes a look at the development of the Russian Internet, or RuNet, and how it has changed over time. From the start, RuNet’s development has reflected social and political changes within Russian society itself: the liberalism of the 1990s, the economic boom of the early 2000s, and, more recently, the introduction of strict Internet censorship laws. InterNYET documents the main milestones in Internet technology growth within Russia since the late Soviet era and profiles the country’s most prominent Web evangelists and personalities.

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Subtitled Episodes

Episode 7: How YouTube Became Russia's Alternative Media Reality
In Soviet times, underground rock music gave many Russians a hipster outlet for self-expression. These days, it’s all about YouTube, the most visited site in Russia. How did YouTube’s vast Russian-language community get started? And what does Russia’s attempt to build a “sovereign Internet” mean for its future?

Episode 6: Putting ‘Barbed Wire’ On The Russian Internet
By 2012, Russia’s media status quo began to shift: The audience for independent Yandex News had exceeded that of state broadcaster Channel One. For the Kremlin, this spelled a direct challenge. And one that they did not intend to tolerate. As shutdowns and crackdowns on non-state-controlled news sites picked up, foreign investors began to pull out. Russian Internet pioneer Anton Nosik believes Runet today “is wrapped up in barbed wire. But, even so, some stalwart online content creators persevere.

Episode 5: Russia’s Battle For Internet ‘Sovereignty’
The Seattle-based LiveJournal in the early 2000s became Russia’s main megaphone for freedom of speech, a way for Russians to debate their homeland’s present and float ideas for the future. In response, the Russian government moved in with Internet restrictions, often in the name of defending public morality. As the Kremlin sought to become an Internet force itself, troll factories were born. And a new idea took hold: divorcing Russia from the outside online world.

Episode 4: Games, Social Media, and A Middle Finger For The Company
The venture capitalist and former physicist Yuri Milner gradually bought up all the most interesting RuNet sites and created the Group. This episode tells the dramatic stories of the creation and takeover of the holding’s best-known assets, Odnoklassniki and VKontakte. What role billionaire Facebook investor Alisher Usmanov played in the company. And why Milner, in the end, sold all his shares, left for Silicon Valley, and no longer wants to invest in Russia.​

Episode 3: Rambler Vs. Yandex: How Not To Make Investments
At the end of the 1990s, Rambler and Yandex had become the Russian Internet’s two main search engines. This episode recounts how Rambler managed to become RuNet’s most popular site and how it lost everything. It’s a lesson for how to build and not build a business on RuNet. Spoiler alert: Never sell a controlling packet of shares to investors if you don’t want to bury your startup.

Episode 2: Counterculture: Scumbags, Marijuana, And The Kremlin
In this episode, the Russian Internet goes through a turbulent adolescence. Two Moscow school students launch a site where visitors can curse and warp the spelling of words. The site gave life to an entire “scumbag” culture with its own language, memes, and offline debaucheries. One of the site founders now lives in Los Angeles and is developing a marijuana blockchain. Another, Konstantin Rykov, became one of the first Kremlin propagandists on the Russian Internet​.

Episode 1: The Beginning: A California Hippie And The Crazy 1990s
The Russian Internet’s childhood and adolescence, from the late Soviet era until the early 2000s. Former Soviet programmers recollect how the first network was set up on stolen American software, while American digital-communications evangelist Joel Schatz remembers how he set up the Soviet Union’s first telebridge with the U.S.

About The Host

Andrey Loshak
Andrey Loshak

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.

Host Interview

InterNYET Creator Andrey Loshak: Putin Sees Internet As Part Of 'Ideological Warfare'
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