Censorship and President Putin’s Approval Rating

You’ve probably heard of Russia’s relatively-new ‘law on bloggers’. It demands that bloggers with at least 3000 subscribers conform to state media regulations and provide personal author information, among other requirements. (I guess my tiny blog is exempt. ^^)

I’ve been reading about Russian censorship, looking for possible links to President Putin’s high approval rating. Here is what I’ve read today with some quotes and commentary. You should read the articles for yourself, too!

Russian Internet Censorship, Social Media Crackdown
Make It Easy For Putin To Stay Popular

The ‘law on bloggers’ bans writers from lying, but ‘lying’ is tricky to define.

“If a blogger insinuates that a public official is corrupt and they can’t provide [proof] they could face very steep fines … It’s certainly not like the American law when you can call President Obama a Nazi Martian and he can’t do anything about it just because he’s a public official.”


“Starting in September 2016, if U.S.-based companies like Twitter, Google and Facebook want to operate on Russian soil, they must also be prepared to turn over data to Russian security services upon request, without a court ruling or any kind of justification.”

Although I guess Facebook, at least, would be keen to comply, since that creepy company thinks everyone should be completely transparent, anyway. (And would you look at that, I’ve just provided a splendid example of criticism without proof. See how easy it is to violate that rule?)

Russia Moves Toward China-Style Internet Censorship

So in in the near future, data will have to be stored in Russia and will be readily-available to the Kremlin. What are some implications? This Businessweek article says (quoting Matthew Schaaf from Freedom House):

“It could have a serious chilling effect on online expression in Russia, making users stop to think how their Google searches and Facebook posts could be used against them.”

Also note that since February of this year, Russia’s media regulator, Roskomnadzor, can take down Web sites they deem “extremist or a threat to public order” (quoting the article.) Indeed, Roskomnadzor blocked sites of parties who were rallying against Russia’s annexation of the Crimea, thus putting this new law into action.

My main question here is: does President Putin’s high approval rating have anything to do with censorship?

Actually, I feel silly for writing that. I think that’s just politics: whoever is in power will do what they can to keep their image in a good light. The right question is: How much does Russia’s censorship affect the approval rating?

Unfortunately, today’s reading hasn’t given me any answers. What I did find was this cool article from Forbes:

Vladimir Putin’s Approval Rate Is Still Near An All-Time High

The author expresses surprise that approval of Putin has actually risen since the “nationalist euphoria over the ‘return’ of Crimea was at its peak.” This article, which is about a month old, cites an out-of-this-world 86% approval rating! But, the author also believes that this approval will fall shortly, assuming Russians will hold Putin accountable for whatever hardships are expected as a result of the sanctions against Russia.

I’ll have to do some more reading to see if anyone has commented on the link between censorship and this incredible 86% approval. Meanwhile, I really hope the Russian people don’t suffer because of all this..


Ballads — Old English to Eminem

I’m writing a reflection on the 1959 Soviet film Ballad of a Soldier (Баллада о солдате)– which has a rating of 100% on Rotten Tomatoes! Cool.

I’m writing on the term “ballad,” its broad definitions, and what makes this film a ballad. The paper can only be one page long (which sometimes actually makes more grief than a 2-3 page paper), so my only criteria of a ballad are: narrative, and sentimentality.

This makes me wonder: can Eminem’s songs be considered ballads? According to my definition, they can. They are very emotional, often tell a story, and even include a chorus.

I wonder if Eminem would do a cover of “Barbara Allen.” … Maybe I wouldn’t want to hear it, though. I don’t know how I’d handle it if he called her a slut. (:


‘The Perks.. Wallflower’ & Communication

In my Interpersonal Communication class, I’ve used the beloved character of Charlie to describe what it means to be a good or bad, but mostly good, listener. As always, I strayed a bit from the prompt, but I’m confident about what I’ve written and its relevance to the subject at hand. Here it is! :)

            A good listener has a strong mind and good heart. He or she uses their brain first to pay attention, and later to remember what they’d heard. They respond from the heart with concern and, ideally, they empathize. The goal of listening is understanding, which links the head and heart. When the receiver’s thoughts and feelings work together to receive and listen to another person’s message, that is understanding.

Charlie of the novel The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a boy who understands when he listens. He exudes empathy like other teenage boys ooze sweat. But Charlie is more than just heart: he pays close attention to what people say, do, and feel, and he remembers it all. This indicates his brainpower. Because he offers safety and intimacy, various characters bare their souls to Charlie. However, he is a wallflower, and this actually impairs his listening skills in some ways. Listening is transactional, but Charlie is too withdrawn to “participate”; Charlie receives, but does not respond. Thus, when his friends want support or advice, he lacks the confidence and skill to provide it. As a result, Charlie is a receptacle for his friends’ thoughts and emotions, which leaves them only as satisfied as one who keeps a diary. As for Charlie, one of the core conflicts of the novel is that he, being a wallflower, is overwhelmed by all that he does not express.

Obviously, one fault does not make Charlie a bad listener. He generally does not practice any of the bad listening habits, with the exception of the period when he tunes out a chatterbox-girl who takes advantage of his reticence. Bad listening habits are designated as such because they negatively impact the communication and often the relationship between the sender and the receiver. In this example, Charlie creates a perfect atmosphere for closeness with his new friends, but he only achieves this closeness when he finally learns to “participate.”

… That’s it. Thoughts?

yours, capricecake

(Edited on 7.9. Just a touch-up~!)

Political Compass

I have finally checked out politicalcompass.org. I’m excited to see my name plotted on an X-Y chart near Nelson Mandela and the Dalai Lama, although I haven’t decided what that means to me, yet. -shrug- I have so much to learn about politics, economics, history– and everything in the world, in general– I never know where to begin, or where I’m straying too far from “practical” study.

(The most interesting information is often, somehow, the least useful! You know?)

Anyway, I can’t wait to see how my views will change in twenty years. I hope one day in the far future I will think to make the comparison. Surely, some things will change. I took the compass test very seriously and, as a result, found a few of the questions quite hard to answer. Frankly, I felt a little under-qualified to answer two or three of them!


<3 your favorite left-wing libertarian (apparently, ha!)

caprice cake

This is more learning than I’d intended.

Studying in St Petersburg these past three weeks, I’ve actually had a lot of free time. To amuse myself, I’ve been reading into whatever interesting topics I have come upon. Without further ado, here are some highlights of my reading!


  • Peter I (18th century tsar of Russia) was so hands-on that once when he ordered a fleet of ships be built, he worked alongside his men to complete the task. Generally, he was hungry for knowledge. Owing to his curiosity, there exists in St Petersburg a museum founded by Peter I which contains scientific oddities– two-headed babies floating in jars, for example. I haven’t been there, but I’ve heard “things.” And one last bit about Peter the Great: since he wanted to push Russia into a new age, he demanded that men shave their beards. Those who didn’t were subject to a beard tax. What is perhaps more interesting to me is that Peter was not the only ruler to do this throughout history!

  • Anne Frank’s diary has been proven to near absolute certainty to be authentic. A few groups (generally, if not totally, comprised of Holocaust-deniers) use the Internet to spread the idea that her diary is fiction, but their alleged proof is invalid. FOR EXAMPLE: they claim that Anne’s diary contains notes in the margins made with red and green ballpoint-pen. However, these markings were made by Anne in colored pencil. The idea that they were made in ballpoint pen (a device which Anne couldn’t have used) comes from a careless report made on the general appearance of Anne’s manuscripts. In case you didn’t know, Anne edited her diary herself during her lifetime in hopes of publishing it after WWII. Her father, Otto Frank, also edited the work as it was in the process of being published.


That’s all for now!

From Russia, with love,

caprice caaaaake

Some Reflections on This Paper I’m Writing

I love lists. Here’s one for ya.

“Some Reflections on This Paper I’m Writing”

  1. Oh, that painful moment when you read aloud the strongest sentence in the whole paper — and it’s like five lines long. DIVIDED, WE FALL. ): I can’t bear to break up this sentence!
  2. Gee, that mental breakdown from earlier really put me on track. This paper is coming along fantastically!
  3. I’m only mentioning Heart of Darkness in passing, and I like like it is both famous enough to cancel the need to cite, yet also impressive enough that it demands some kind of direct quote…
  4. I panicked and told the nice lady that I can’t volunteer at the food pantry tomorrow. Then I sat down and actually got this essay done. I guess I can just casually show up and volunteer, anyway. Hopefully, she’ll give me the knowing “it’s-finals-week” smile.
  5. I could be watching Disney movies with a fun group of tipsy youth. Except I am at the crossfire of caring too much and not working efficiently enough, which means I’m not allowed to have fun.

This post is a mess. -shrug- This is my life now. Thanks for reading.

LOVE, capriciouscake

Please Turn Off the Noise

I thought sound-blocking headphones were just for professionals, until I came to college.

I also thought that people who own sound-blocking headphones, who are not professionals, are silly.

To these elusive, expensive, silence-bringing angels of technology: I am so sorry. I was so wrong.

How frustrating it is to be so sensitive to any noise when I am trying to work! I can’t get anything done, particularly anything which involves reading and writing, when any kind of talking is happening. Look, I know this isn’t tearing your understanding of reality– noise distracts everyone. However, most people seem to be able to work through it to some degree, whereas I have absolutely no tolerance for any kind of speaking when I need to work.

At this very moment, I am pumping instrumental music from YouTube through my headphones in an attempt to block my roommate, her boyfriend, and their television while I desperately claw at this Russian essay. (I tried listening to Russian music, but even words I don’t quite understand are too distracting.) And you know what? I’m angry at my roommate. Of course there is no reason to be angry with my roommate, who does nothing wrong by talking and watching TV. I absolutely do not want to be mad at her. However, this frustration is making me very, very agitated.

I think I will look into buying those silly, blessed noise-blocking headphones.

Can you imagine the peace, the quiet, the concentration? I COULD CRY.

affectionately yours,