With important new revelations into the Russian hacking of the 2016 Presidential campaigns
"[Andrei Soldatov is] the single most prominent critic of Russia's surveillance apparatus." -Edward Snowden
After the Moscow protests in 2011-2012, Vladimir Putin became terrified of the internet as a dangerous means for political mobilization and uncensored public debate. Only four years later, the Kremlin used that same platform to disrupt the 2016 presidential election in the United States. How did this transformation happen?
The Red Web is a groundbreaking history of the Kremlin's massive online-surveillance state that exposes just how easily the internet can become the means for repression, control, and geopolitical warfare. In this bold, updated edition, Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan offer a perspective from Moscow with new and previously unreported details of the 2016 hacking operation, telling the story of how Russia came to embrace the disruptive potential of the web and interfere with democracy around the world.
Soldatov and Borogan, journalists who have covered the Russian secret services for over a decade, document what they deem the "monumental battle for the future of the Internet." They examine the history of surveillance technologies in Russia, the Soviet Union's authoritarian control over information and its distribution, and the legacy of this mindset as it reverberates in the Russia in the Internet age. The authors argue that Putin's repressive impulse has deep roots in Russia's Soviet past, and the first part of the book is dedicated to exploring these roots, but it presumes the reader has a working knowledge of Soviet history and Russian current events. The second and more comprehensive part of the book examines Putin's power grabs and the Russian government's use of surveillance, overt censorship, and intimidation through technology in recent years. This section also profiles the "online revolutionaries" who resist intimidation, censorship, and blacklisting, finding creative ways to use the Internet to circumvent and undermine the power of the government and security services. The authors laud the horizontal networks enabled by the Internet and find hope in the Arab Spring, the Moscow protests, and Euromaidan proof of the networks' abilities to counter and resist the authoritarian push. This critique of Putin's administration is best suited for readers interested in Russian current events.