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GitHub blocked in Russia (translate.google.com)
170 points by uldus on Dec 3, 2014 | hide | past | favorite | 171 comments

I live in Russia (Moscow) and I'm working for leading russian internet company. I'm very annoyed by current political and economical situation. I was so upset by events happening last months that I simply stopped reading russian news at all. And I spent all the time in places like GitHub, Topcoder, English Wikipedia, Hacker News etc. Yesterday, I've tried to make yet another commit to my private repository and suddenly I failed to connect to GitHub. After basic checking of network, I started searching for a news, and I got it.

In a big picture, it's not just russian politicians who tight control over the free internet. The main problem in russia is not just politicians, it's a vast majority of russian people who voted for Putin and his party and totally support current regime.

May be for western people it's hard to believe how can it be possible to support this crazy regime. I can tell you that even top managers from leading russian internet company (from my private conversation with them) dreamed about great russian firewall because in that case, they won't have competitors like Google. Furthermore even IT guys like Putin regime and don't get worry about crazy laws passed against the internet. I assure you in that because many of my colleagues really like Stalin and really like what's happening in Ukraine. Almost all people in Russia really hate western world. They don't care about currency exchange rates and inflation, they care only about imperialism. When Putin made desision about Crimea, and when people totally supported it, I stopped believe in Russia at all.

Russia is a pure soviet country, with pure 100% soviet mindset, vast majority of russian people like idea of self-isolation. This is why Russia has no future as a liberal market-driven country.

And this is why I'm actively looking for a job abroad.

> dreamed about great russian firewall because in that case, they won't have competitors like Google

This mindset is very prevalent in Russia and should be considered its greatest enemy. Most Russians are fine living in any conditions, as long as it's better than whatever their neighbors have. They would destroy their whole society if they can come closer to the top doing that. Why improve yourself if you can sink your neighbors? I hate this so much.

Source: Russian, lived there until recently.

People sometimes say the same here in the Czech Republic but I don't know if it's true or if it's just an idea that resonates well for some reason.

Had the same situation in Turkey. Half of the country supports a (for me obviously) corrupt party for reasons I can observe (religion, dreaming of becoming the glorious Ottoman Empire once again and so on), but can't make sense of. I have been living in Germany for the last 5 years - never been happier, even though I earn less. I try not to read any Turkish news (very depressing) with moderate success because of the common "{Yet Another Social Network} blocked in Turkey" posts on HN & others.

Same here. I left the country (Turkey) 4 years ago, have been living in Estonia and Poland - never been happier and I earn more. Now it just feels nostalgia when I read news about Turkey and I can't care less about how fucked the country is. Not gonna raise my kids there and none of the problems bother me anymore. I stop believing in flags, made myself completely apolitic and minding my own business.

Hi, pal. I live in Moscow too, and I agree with you: what's happening is really really sad. I use github for everyday work, and suddenly I failed to connect. I need my job actually, you know? And they just broke it. For what? For blocking one file, which nobody cared about? Are they serious? This is fucking insane. And regime is fucking insane. And "replace your t-shirt with a patriotic one" ads on streets are just too fucking dumb to be true. WTF?! 2013 wasn't too bad, and I had no thoughts about moving to another country, but in just one year everything gone to shit.

How do they ban it actually? In my West (!) European country (I don't know of any European country that doesn't do some censorship) they just serve court order to the providers, the providers remove the entries from the DNS but the banned sites are still reachable using the IP address. They you just need to fix your etc hosts file.

Try with and accept the certificate if it has A0:C4:A7:46:00:ED:A7:2D:C0:BE:CB:9A:8C:B6:07:CA:58:EE:74:5E SHA-1 fingerprint.

(The uploaders can be related to the companies selling VPN access to Russians.)

In Russia they seem to force all ISPs to ban specific IP addresses. Obviously, it blocks many stuff, and not just one page. I really HOPE that it'll be resolved soon, because a few months ago we had similar problems with wordpress and even youtube (!), but it was fixed in 1-2 days, because, you know, everyone watches youtube, and blocking half of it makes everyone mad. But github is not what everyone uses, it's just a thing for coders like me, so I'm also afraid, they wont give a shit, because only a "minority" of their clients complained. --- Can't load suggested IP as well

I'm totally agree with you that they don't care about minority at all (by the way, in any field).

I think this issue with GitHub will be resolved soon.

But in general, this Internet Restriction Bill (Federal law of Russian Federation no. 139-FZ of 2012-07-28) is double purpose tool.

On the one hand it serves its first official purpose (i.e. by blocking illegal content). It often do it completely awkward and don't care about legitimate users (the issue with GitHub is the good example).

On the second hand it's very good and easy to use tool for internet censorship. For example, it's so easy to block sites with legitimate information which current regime don't like.

Just think about "sudden" blocking of GitHub or Wikipedia as a training for them (i.e. just to make sure that in case of political instability they can shutdown anything pretty quickly).

Or follow the money, who profits in this particular case? See my other comments here.

I'm travelling frequently to both Russia and Turkey - to avoid having stupid spatial location based limitations I've been using privateinternetaccess.com for more than 6 months now. it's pretty cheap and has gateways all around the world - I recommend it without any hesitation... I especially like having access to streaming video for the shows I watch that is limited to country ip's like the daily show...

See tummybug's message here: ssh -D to setup a local socks proxy is far easier.

We're hackers, let's promote using our own servers and service providers, don't support the VPN sellers who can be behind this particular blockade, maybe even bribing the censors. See the comments here, ssh is enough.

yes of course but that requires to have an always on computer to connect to...

I really suspect the sellers of VPN are involved. Managing to DOS the site that the professionals use, those that are able to use VPN too and are more probae to pay.

>How do they ban it actually?

My ISP just changes DNS response. All blocked domains are resolved to local server that shows message like this: https://who.ec/iWN (Site is blocked. Legal reason: blah-blah-blah)

Some providers just block access to IPs. My friend's blog lost ~300 visits/day becasuse it used same cloudflare node as blocked site.

Rostelecom uses MitM & self-signed certificate for more accurate filtering.

> I don't know of any European country that doesn't do some censorship

Germany doesn't, there where large protests when it was attempted in 2009 under the pretext of blocking child pornography.

Actually I'm only aware of Britain and Sweden censoring the web here in Europe, but enlighten me if I missed something.

At least one company has been court ordered to block access to the Pirate Bay.


> On 13 May 2010, the Hamburg District Court ordered an injunction against CB3Rob Ltd & Co KG (Cyberbunker) and its operator, Mr. Sven Olaf Kamphuis, restraining them from connecting The Pirate Bay site to the Internet.[24] The injunction application was brought by the Motion Picture Association's member companies.

Depending how you define censorship: can I sell a game that features Nazi symbols - such as the swastika - in Germany?

That example (Nazi symbol) gets old.. [1]

Can I burn the American Flag or (in your case, if I'm correctly understanding that you're in London) the Union Jack in a public place?

What about nudity (no clue in the UK, but I'm still laughing hard about 'nipplegate' to this very day) on TV?

Every culture probably sets acceptable limits in what you can show/express/say or do (even the US free speech isn't protecting you from being sued for libel/hate speech or similar things, as far as I can tell). Yes, Swastikas/Nazi related symbols might be unpopular and even forbidden here. I refuse to consider that censorship, to be honest.

1: Wikipedia even seems to have an english page for this example - guess it's just so popular. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strafgesetzbuch_section_86a

There's no censorship laws about burning the Union flag in a public place.

> I refuse to consider that censorship, to be honest.

I did say it depends how you define censorship. Note that I didn't say this was bad!

"Can I burn the American Flag...in a public place?"


"What about nudity"

What does nudity have to do with anything? The topic is political speech. Anyway, there's plenty of nudity on cable, on the net...

Note that if the nudity does have political significance, numerous U.S. courts have held that it's protected.

Exactly. There is not a single European country without internet censorship, despite appearances.

References :

the Netherlands : http://translate.google.com/translate?u=http://www.nu.nl/int...

Belgium : http://pokerfuse.com/news/law-and-regulation/belgium-expand-...

France : http://pokerfuse.com/news/law-and-regulation/france-wants-is...

United Kingdom : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_censorship_in_the_Unit...

Germany, as you pointed out.


Finland also has a secret blocklist maintained by the police. It is currently voluntary for ISPs to implement the blocks, but there has been some talk of making it mandatory "if necessary". The list is supposed to only contain foreign sites with child porn. There was a small, and pretty quickly forgotten, scandal in 2008 when they added to the list a Finnish site that was criticizing it (and published a copy of the list to show that it also contains other things besides child porn).

The Pirate Bay is also blocked here.

Using the IP based URL won't work because GitHub correctly enforces the canonical address with a HTTP redirect. It will bring you back to the blocked IP.

I spent quite a lot of time in Russia each year and these bans seem to be lifted after a few weeks if they are as absurd as this one, and you can still bypass them easily with VPN.

Can you just add an entry to your hosts file?

Me exactly. Didn't think about moving, now it's the only thing I think of.

I actually gave Russia a big credit on patriotism and it wasted it all. It's done for me. The country where I grew up (for good or bad) no longer exists, they destroyed it.

oh man i feel the same.....

"And "replace your t-shirt with a patriotic one" ads on streets are just too fucking dumb to be true."

Are you referring to [1]? Very worrying: like a North Korea style personality cult. How prevalent is this?

[1] http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2014/10/07...

No, I didn't mean Putin T-shirt (I never saw that one before), but the same page has a photo of what I meant: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-apps/imrs.php?src=http://im...

Well what did you expect to happen?

Most Russians support Putin and especially his foreign policy and when Russia got sanctioned because of that policy many were personally offended.

So they made t-shirts that referr to these sanctions, that are in their view offending them.

It is an absolutely normal response for any society that is collectively sanctioned/attacked.

> May be for western people it's hard to believe how can it be possible to support this crazy regime.

For me, it is not. As an example, for me the US is completely nuts, but you know, they like what they like. You can think some things are normal just because you're used to them, but that means nothing.

> This is why Russia has no future as a liberal market-driven country.

And what if they don't want to play that game?

I'm in between and I think that both - US and RF are completely nuts :D

As an American, I agree. I think both cultures have little interest in having an honest debate about how to foster a good society across the board. Politicians pay it lip service, but behind the façade everyone is just trying to get theirs in the US just as it is in RF.

NO! Common misunderstanding among Americans who haven't traveled much. You don't even need to go to Russia. Just go to Mexico and it will give you a small taste of how bad things can get. The only way Russia could be worse is if it had feudal slavery.

Ok, there are corrupt people everywhere, but there are often cultural limits on what people will let others and themselves get away with. Those limits are pretty high in the US, but they basically don't exist in Russia.

As to not being interested in figuring out how to create a good society, you're correct. They're both way too exceptional for that.

LOL, you know what they say about assuming right?

Turns out I'm half-Brazilian and I currently live in the UK. I spent part of my childhood in the 80s in Brazil so I know a thing or two about corruption.

Anyway, not sure what you were responding "NO" to as you explicitly agreed with the only assertion that I actually made rather than the stereotype that jubilantly flowered forth in your mind's eye.

I thought you said the US is as bad as Russia, which is pretty wrong.

No, I only meant they both have selfish cultures, obviously they manifest completely differently.

The US continues to be one of the best places to live in the world even in its entitled malaise, largely as a result of momentum of post-war prosperity that was mostly dropped in our lap due to military and political strife around the rest of the planet while we sat happily on a wealth of natural resources ready to be exploited.

They didn't played that game decades ago, when the world wasn't as globalized as it is today.

They didn't have a good ride that time, and it's a fact that they won't have a good ride now.

What's a good ride? I will tell you what a good ride is for me: the distribution of wealth. And that isn't working on the US now, so what can I say? It's hard to choose.

But it's a purely political question, a matter of taste... there isn't a definite answer.

Welcome to the club. I did the same 20 years ago precisely to the day.

My dad's generation in Russia would smuggle illegal Western records across the border. They grew up to listening to scratchy tape copies of The Beatles, Deep Purple, and Pink Floyd. He said nobody really hated the West. On the contrary, they were intrigued by Western culture.

Have things really changed so much?

no, most of peoples just have fears about West countries because for whole lives they got information that West guilty for most of local problems (in same time many loved West culture too).

Thanks for posting this insight! I am in Europe and I am really scared about that the situation between Western World and Russia could escalate even more. Second Cold War is not far away now. I deeply hope that both opponents US/Europe/Ukraine and Russia will find a diplomatic way out of this situation that will allow to carry on.

The world has so many other problems - ecological, economical, viral, terrorists - to care of. I have sympathies for Ukraine, but it really pisses me off that we are on a brink of war and this because in a small part of Ukraina (in proportions to europe/world) there are people who want to separate. It's crazy. Just let them vote and if they want, let them go instead of having them as a burden blocking you in your future adventures. The situation with Scotland and Catalonia is/was similar, but there was no need to such drastic measures. Especially that we Europeans and Russians share the same continent. We should learn to live together.

Sorry, it's my opinion, it's not about technology, but had just to leave my chest.

The cold war never ended, buddy. It's just that Putin feels comfortable enough now to show his teeth.

Actually it did end with Russia losing not just overseas allies, not just Eastern Block, but even Ukraine and Belarus.

Thus casting Russia back into XVI century.

Stay cool, there will be no war. It's going to stay a regional conflict fueled by a small group of Russian nationalists, slowly turning Donbas into yet another blackhole like South Ossetia or Abkhazia.

I really wish and hope that you and all the other people with the same opinion will be proved right.

I am worried that some unpredictable accident or irrational decision will turn this into a new nightmare. After all a huge majority of Russians support Putin and his politics. With more and more isolation and bad economy in Russia, Putin might maybe at some point feel that he has no other way to keep his "honor/dignity" in the eyes of his people and might start a war.

After all we do not know what happens in the heads of powerful men in this position and he might feel by the NATO expansion quite encircled.

Let's hope that people at power, including Putin, do not make any irrevocable things.

I feel for you.

Do you feel "generally safe" leaving comments like this online? For both physical security and job security?

What's the mood out there - is opposition a safe thing or something you whisper your wife in the kitchen, at night, when children are asleep?

Everybody is leaving comments like this. You're more typical if you do than if you don't.

So your risk doesn't get higher than the background risk of living in a corrupt country with broken legal system.

Nobody hides their complaints, but the majority of people seem to actually support current government.

> May be for western people it's hard to believe how can it be possible to support this crazy regime. ... Russia is a pure soviet country ...

Drones, mass surveillance, jailing and exiling of whistleblowers, court decisions fixed in advance, rampant racism and sexism, foreign wars for the last 150 years or so, ...

This ain't about however you define the term 'soviet', it's about politico-social power and thus the global trend in increasing violations of civil rights for excuses and legitimizations based on [insert security term here].

Wow, I had no idea it was that bad. Good luck in finding a job abroad! If you don't want to move that far, and live in one of the safest countries in the world, I can highly recommend Norway.

I live in Moscow and while I haven't voted for Putin, I greatly despise that you blame Russian people. This is intellectually disgusting to the point of nationalism scale.

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/B3064ALCEAEnJWT.png:large - according to this chart, you are not alone in considering emigration.

What happened in mid 2011 in Russia?

Lots of small things; they added up and the regime became more oppressive and nationalistic. People started to feel it even if they stayed away from politics.

The migration rate rises sharply in late 2011/early 2012. Putin was nominated for re-election as president in September 2011, elected March 2012

"it's a vast majority of russian people who voted for Putin and his party and totally support current regime" ... this is why when you win a war, even a cold one ... you rebuild the country at your own expense ...

The worst thing a country can do is piss off the intellectuals/job creators.

The sad thing is while Russia has oil, and oil prices are high, the Russian government can do pretty much what they want to do, with major support from the population who benefit from a decent standard of living.

Feels kind of the opposite for me. When oil prices are high Russia doesn't really care too much and just moves on. When it's low, there's this sort of nationalistic push in various fields of public and private life in Russia. Maybe to resist foreign pressure, who knows. A country is more susceptible to a change of course when its resources are low, when it becomes dependent.

In short, oil prices being high means they have 'fuck off' money. When it's low, the government feels it has to focus on creating a collective nationalistic spirit to pull through.

These are just my thoughts on seeing Russia behave over time in the context of oil prices. Look at how they behave now when oil prices are low and NATO is making a push eastwards, and compare it to a few years ago when oil was high.

Yup, and the Russian ruble is at an all time low against the USD (and by extension all other western currencies).

>Almost all people in Russia really hate western world

I would say 80 percent are more likely the truth

Sadly, situation in Belarus is almost the same with a little difference

>And this is why I'm actively looking for a job abroad.

Этот пост полон выдумок. Скажем, абсолютно не согласен с утверждением, что большинство "проголосовало" за Путина. Большинство проголосовало за единственный вариант, которые не приведёт к неадеквату в стране "прямо сейчас", который гарантируют другие кандидаты. По сути вопрос в том что выбора у населения НЕТ ВООБЩЕ. То что преподносится как "выбор" - тонко подстроенная игра олигархических группировок.

Yours too. We no longer has any multi-polar oligarchic groups. It seems that all power is one set of hands now.

Even then, Putin got just 52% on elections in my town and the neighboring towns of Moscow area. I guess even Obama had it more secure.

Speaking about the elections, do you guys honestly believe that he has got 99,759%(!) vote with turnout of 99,61% (!!) in the region where he caused a death or two in practically every family?

No, I don't. Sociological reports show that only around 40% of people in those regions you mention admit of ever going to the voting booths.

However if they do, they're likely vote for Putin because other candidates would have even less appeal to them, even if they've heard of them.

If you don't see those other groups it doesn't show that they are not existent. It only proves diminished influence on the media etc.

Проголосовало или нет, но поддерживающих кажется абсурдно много. Может среди думающей молодёжи и нет (хотя тоже, на удивление, хватает), но поговори с теми, кто телек смотрит (большинство пожилых людей), они считают что всё, как там и говорят, что путен на белом коне, а остальные ополчившиеся на нас геи). Статистики у меня нет, говорю по людям, которых я встречал.

Those people are non-factors anyway. It should be obvious now that the only way this government can change is revolution, and people you are referring to — ones that take TV propaganda seriously — they will never be brave enough to hold their ground on streets. The same ideology that makes them believe in propaganda is also detrimental to their civic activity (even if it's a pro-govt activity), so you can safely assume that they doesn't exist. That's not to say about criminal scum of different sorts that profits from Putin's regime — think "patriotic bikers" and police. Yep, they will fight for it, but their number is small, they are vastly outnumbered by good people. It's just the courage and determination of educated middle class that is needed to end this madness.

Всё логично. Кого они ещё могут выбрать? Назовите мне хоть одну реально адекватную альтернативу... под адеватной я подразумеваю такую, которая: а) имеет чётко очерченные планы по развитию страны; б) имеет опыт или хотя-бы пользуется доверием у людей; в) поддерживается финансово.

this is a nonsensical and circular argument, I am sorry. How can you seriously believe that a country of 150 mln people has no alternative to Putin? that is impossible statistically.

You seem to be ignorant of what real-life presidency prerequisites are (as opposed to formal ones) if you consider millions of people as possible candidates...

"имеет опыт или хотя-бы пользуется доверием у людей" Do we have a single such person in 140 million Russia?

My bet is on "no".

Official reason for blocking: the site hosts texts describing methods of suicide. Because Github uses HTTPS only, it's impossible to block only the offending pages, so the whole IP range is blocked. Github ignored their requests to remove the offending content, so the site remains blocked.

I hope Russian citizens get a big fat boost of morality from blocking Github.

Really, it's not the alcoholism, injustice, corruption, poverty and now economic collapse that causes people to commit suicide in Russia, it's... Github !!

This just shows how braindead the people holding power in Russia are. Oh, and these censorship 'laws' have been adopted by people who've stolen billions and who've built a corrupt police state, which is really scary, because the same people have their fingers on the red button.

Don't worry, practically every European country censors something on the internet (example: (1)) Some level of absurdity is always present as there are almost always some methods to get to the data when the person is determined enough.

1) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_censorship_in_the_Unit...

I'm writing from one another West European country. Here even teens share the IP numbers of the video sites banned on the DNS servers of the providers, to type that in the browser's link bar. The providers were served the court orders. It's just on the DNS level at the moment.

> practically every European country censors something on the internet

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_censorship_and_surveil... doesn't support that

That page isn't very good.

It says that the UK doesn't censor the Internet yet we know that there are two levels of censorship in England:

i) the IWF lists - these cover sites that distribute images of child sexual abuse

ii) court order - these cover sites like the PirateBay.

3 levels.

The third is the opt-out censorship to protect the children from file sharing, vpn & privacy related info, extreme content (gore), extreme political content (neo-Nazi, maybe even Britian First related but not confirmed), sex related, etc.

By censoring file sharing & privacy related content, it does damange the "path" to becoming a programmer for some people. I know that if these were filtered by default I'd have never learnt how to program.

Don't use Wikipedia for citing. Your high school teachers would shame you!

Well, at least you have court orders (at least those are directed) and it seems that providers don't even bother to mess with IP payload, just make their DNS server spoof the zone (hope I'm not wrong they don't redirect all udp port 53 traffic to their servers).

Not like it helps, but it's much better. The whole current situation in Russia is a bit different - there are no court orders at all (that is, the whole censorship is completely unaccountable), and every ISP has to blindly comply or risk getting their license to operate revoked (or at least not prolonged).

The US censors a bunch of sites too if that makes you feel any better

> now economic collapse

Don't take what a TV box tells you this literally. The currency exchange rate going up is not an economic collapse. I lived through Perestroika years - that was nasty, but current situation is even less of a "collapse" as what the US economy had during the mortgage crisis.

Effectively, every Russian's salary just depreciated 50% to a significant portion of the goods they buy.

Local businesses might come out on top of this due to their goods being more competitive vs imports, but the population is screwed again. Rich guys become richer, poor guys become poorer.

But that's just the exchange rate. Credit rates hiked up significantly and foreign investment into Russia dwindled. Big projects are put on hold due to uncertainty. My outlook is negative.

Ugh.. I hate them for this. Wish some organization can initiate organized mass protests to this bullshit. Not that I believe it will have any effect because the infamous roi.ru had already demonstrated that current government doesn't give a shit about opinions of its people popular or not.

I expected something like this, but I thought it would be GitHub blocking Russia, like Google was/is blocking Iran, not the other way around. The situation reminds me of Russia's sanctions against Europe.


This one isn't a sanction, of course, it's just another lapse in the censoring machine.

The situation itself reminds of those sanctions, because just like how this thing mostly affects and hurts Russians themselves, those Russia's sanctions too are mostly hurting ordinary people, driving food prices high, limiting options etc.

Thank goodness my $COUNTRY doesn't do that.

Hello there.

I live in Russia, too (St-Petersburg, to be precise), and I would like to discuss the issue on a different angle. Russian government is done anyway (economic situation will finish it in a few years), so why bothering? What is more important, I believe, is GitHub's attitude here.

You see, GitHub is sending polite-but-firm emails right now, asking users that hosted the file in question to remove it and hinting that they otherwise will remove it themselves. I'm deeply worried about this, because GitHub faces a tough decision: either it will stand to it's ground and stay banned in Russia, or it will comply, possibly changing TOS to be able to remove content if it's illegal in some god-forsaken country. Think LGBT-supporting groups and Nigeria, if not Russia.

In the first case, they will moderately annoy a most active part of Russian society and loose SOME subscribers — GitHub is for programmers, after all, we can handle VPNs. It will remind people that something is broken about their country, serving a good purpose. In the same time, GitHub will prove itself trustworthy to it's true customers — programmers.

In the second case, the ban will be lifted, but now they have to comply more and more, as more and more programmers will deliberately post that suicide satire in their repos. GitHub will probably lose less subscribers in the short term, but in the same time they will help the devious "divide and conquer" KGBsque strategy, which is no good. Additionally, GitHub case will become a poster child of Russian Propaganda Machine Winning, which is no good, either.

So, it's money-vs-face situation, when GitHub is forced to choose between helping one or another party. I strongly hope that they will choose The Right Thing To Do™.

> Russian government is done anyway (economic situation will finish it in a few years)

Wishful thinking. Cf. how the economic situation has finished Kim Jong-un.

This is the strongest argument against democracy I've ever heard. When it comes right down to it, fact is that >50% (and more likely >80%) is in favor of laws against LGBT. At least 50% of the 7 billion humans is in favor of criminalizing freedom of religion. In favor of censorship is probably >75% as well, because when push comes to shove, a large majority of muslims, chinese and russians are in favor of it, as is most of Africa.

The problem I do see is that the "other side", specifically the UN, is not really any better. Freedom of religion is constantly under attack in the general assembly, and so is freedom of speech.

Take for example http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Defamation_of_religion_and_the_... (TLDR: attempts to introduce blasphemy laws world-wide supported by the UN) ... details a constant campaign against freedom of religion that's entering it's third decade now of majority support in the general assembly. And this is but one of many examples. This makes it clear that defending human rights using either the UN of the ICC is like asking Putin to solve Ukraine's internal government crises. Whatever the solution is to guarantee freedom, it's not the UN.

Sad part is, if anything, these groups are growing, not shrinking.

I know it doesn't look like it in the middle of the US, but you should remember that the US is barely 350 million people. The number of people that would like their country to attack the US today, no matter how stupid an act it would be, world wide, is bigger than that. The number of people that would like to see the US taken down several notches even includes >50% of Europeans, so you can imagine what it is in the rest of the world (talk about a moronic position : China will replace the US should that happen, and it is blatantly obvious that will not be an improvement, not even for Chinese, although most Chinese I've talked to argue otherwise). In most places it doesn't even have anything to do with the US, other than that the US culture is leaking into their countries perhaps. In Europe, it's mostly political jealousy, the US has all this power, and is not using it "for good" (good can mean climate change, economic stuff, various wars, and now that 10% of europe or so is muslims "because it is destroying islam", not that you can ever get a straight answer of what that means, though references to Gaza seem common). It's not exclusively the US either. India seems to be as hated as the US sometimes, except for in Europe. And this is ignoring the wild cards, like how >30% of Europe constantly votes for the extreme right, more than that even in some countries (and less in Germany, but it's being repressed, so there's no real data on the actual number). Japan is re-arming at a speed that if you told me 5 years ago that might happen I would have laughed).

Russia is but one example of a nation that seems to be regressing to the situation before WWI. Turkey is similar. As we know, most of the middle east and northern Africa sees a return to the pseudo-roman-empire caliphate of the 7th century as a solution. China pretty much is an empire, including conquered colonies, and however dictatorial the current government is, from talking to Chinese people here I believe it would actually win an election, should there be one. All want an empire, and of course their own empire to win.

None of these attitudes seem rational to me, as people are worse and worse off, yet that only seems to fan the flames. All of these empires are calling for war, to some extent. I fear that as time goes on, the amount of sparks needed to light the powder kegs seems to be going down, and I feel really queasy about how little energy it took to start the ISIS war in the middle east, for example. How much sparks would it take to start something similar in Europe ? (yes there's less muslims there, but it's not like ISIS has even 10% support in Iraq)

How is this an argument against democracy? What is your proposed alternative that would be superior?

Can a broad statement like 'the strongest argument against democracy' even be made when democracy takes many forms and has varying degrees of adherence to the principles behind their expression?

What of countries that had laws against racial intermarriage or same-sex marriage and have changed those laws because there was a means for people to instigate change (i.e. democracy)?

I don't have an alternative. The point is that if we really were fully democratic world-wide, we'd be locking up or killing gays/lesbians, we'd have blasphemy laws for every religion and some ideologies enforced world-wide, ...

Assuming you do not consider this a desirable situation, it forms an argument against democracy itself.

I'm not sure that you are really answering my comment, because I don't see how yours is related to mine.

However, I can tell that you are confusing democracy per se (or even ochlocracy) and liberal democracy.

I agree with everything you said, except for the last few sentences about ISIS. The creation of a "moral enemy" in the middle east was an explicitly acknowledged goal of the neo-conservative wing of the Bush administration, and took some 14 years to accomplish. I strongly suggest watching the BBC's documentary "The Power Of Nightmares" as a good introductory source.

What next, also StackOverflow blocked? Next headline would be Russian software development comes to a sudden halt

Edit: downvoted again. My mind is just not made for this hateful community here.

It probably won't, but it'll evolve in a different direction, and knowledge from abroad (and from inside Russia) won't be distributed as much as before.

Indeed, I believe that is going to happen this way.

But in the same time, it's a strong signal to avoid to do software related business in Russia. The blocking works both ways. Just look at what happened in China, they do have their own tools and networks but almost nobody is outsourcing work to China compared to other countries.

What a nice attack vector. Deliver a "suicidal" payload to a website, report to Russian authorities and watch it go offline in Russia.

It might as well be SO or any other site with user content.

It's not that easy. The site will also have to deny to remove the contents. I'm pretty sure SO would remove such content, simply because it's off-topic there.

I'm sure there is sub-exchange on stackexchange, where it's not an off-topic. And as soon as stackexchange share the IP with SO it will be blocked all over. Thanks for the idea.

Then, there's still the question whether SO will comply or not. Given that reports of suicide trigger more suicides than without, I wouldn't be surprised of SO community guidelines which discourage such content, even though it might otherwise be ontopic in that specific sub-exchange.

>What a nice attack vector. Deliver a "suicidal" payload to a website, report to Russian authorities and watch it go offline in Russia.

It would go offline after few months. It's government agency, not some use support forum!

Maybe we should follow the money? Who profits from it? Those selling VPN access. But maybe the full VPN is not needed at all. See my other messages here.

It can possible be orchestrated by some corporate interests but I don't believe they are powerful enough to overrule entire IT sector interests. It really seems more like a blunder of inadequate policy implementation like it was done a few times before.

I mentioned this in a previous thread on russia but it got short shrift. Their (Russian Politicians) zealotry can easily be turned against them.

Not sure if anybody offered here, but if you're in Russia and looking to leave and Paris sounds like a good place, maybe I could help out. Currently I'm doing a lean startup and that means that I don't have a lot of resources, but I do know a few people who are hiring.

The area is: golang, python and js mostly.

alex @plugaru org

p.s. I speak russian.

Interesting... Google Translate did a very decent job on the article, but the comments are all kinds of hilarious. Looks like informal speech is much harder to translate correctly. Although on the second thought it's not surprising.

I guess some Russian reader hand corrected the translation of the article. Otherwise, Google translate is very poor for Russian text. the best example is the translated sentence from the text that caused the ban:

"Skopostnye train DURING topmozhenii ppohod more about kilometpa" (...)

(The sentence makes advice where the person doing suicide is best to do it, related to trains. Don't correct it and please don't post it in full here).

>"Skopostnye train DURING topmozhenii ppohod more about kilometpa"

Looks like message author has replaced cyrillic 'р' with latin 'p' in original text.

This just means that this text is FIDOnet legacy. Really old.

That was about the different character (Н, capital н).

That was about H, p and y - for various reasons.

Why not? It might be inconvenient to read, but it is an article about the censoring of that exact information. Celebrate freedom by translating it properly!

And having HN also banned in Russia? Is the particular banned information really worth it? It's a stupid "try to be funny" "how to do a suicide" text. Really not worth it, see the other comments. The inconvenience such things make to the users of the sites (country wide denial of service(!)) is much bigger than the possibility to change the opinion of some officials.

If you really want to provoke, try with those with which you share the language, get something banned in the UK, as the example:


I'm sure you can do it and also tell us how UK officials do senseless decisions. In fact, AFAIK, almost every European country has some form of internet censorship.

> And having HN also banned in Russia?

What's better - to have HN possibly banned, or to play along the tune and practically comply with the censorship?

It's the latter why we have it. Should Twitter, Facebook and YouTube haven't complied the whole issue would be likely non-existent by now.

Willing to translate it, but the piece posted here is not comprehensible. Post a direct link and I'll do it.

Also, original: http://www.opennet.ru/opennews/art.shtml?num=41171

Edit: it does not look like sth about suicide. Words in order:

High-speed (adj), Train, Customs (on the border), Passage, More, About, (of) kilometer.

>Words in order: >High-speed (adj), Train, Customs (on the border), Passage, More, About, (of) kilometer.

Higher-speed rail passes at least kilometer while slowing down.

>it does not look like sth about suicide https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suicide_methods#Rail

Thanks for the Wikipedia link, now we know what the basis for the text was. Obviously the author started from there and added his "funny" options like "start the third world war."

The author of the text tries to be "funny." One of the options is "Start the third world war. Any red button in some army facility in your vicinity? Are you some president?"

I can't imagine anybody will gain any insights from that "banned" information. kasthack links to the Wikipedia article that was an obvious starting point for the text, to which the "funny" parts were added.

IIRC, Google Translate is based on machine learning where, especially for the initial learning phase, they relied on news articles from google news - which are often similar in content and source, but translated by national newspapers. That dataset doesn't contain a lot of informal speech though.

Good, let the oppression reach the breaking point sooner and let the people rise and throw away the tyranny.

If only that was true :(

More realistically the people will just run away from Russia leaving only those that are happy with the situation. Users of github are tiny minority in Russia. Even tinier is the part of those users that care enough to do anything about it besides leaving.

Github is down for Russian developers because some anti-Putin political activists are eager to make a point.

It works like this:

- they push some content deemed illegal in Russia to a github repo (something like instructions on committing suicide or on growing marijuana).

- then they themselves post a complain to the Russian internet regulator, accompanied by the link to illegal content;

- the ugly bureaucrats machine (which is mostly automatic) bans the whole of Github.

- at some point later in the day a human intervenes and unblocks the site, as happened several times in the past.

However, by that time the media has picked up the story, and many oppressed Russian developers who don't know how to use a US proxy, have received job offers.

1. This is not true. It was actually blocked on purpose with head of federal agency speaking about it and posting funny picture.

2. (some) Content in question is work of satire about censorship agency and ridiculous laws written and hosted on github in Feb 2013

3. (some) of the links in question are not even posted by Russian citizens or residents, not even speaking about political activists


Here you are. Posted by a Russian citizen from a commit labeled "Privet, Roskomnadzor!" Such a rebel! Demonstrating the world unspeakable horrors of the Putin's regime.

Sincerely hope GitHub won't give up an inch to censorship and handle the situation with "your government is your problems, not ours" attitude.

With all seriousness - I think the whole situation just can't be solved otherwise. All this censorship things went generally unnoticed and went along the "oh, they're blocking evil child molesters' sites, it's alright" line of thought. To raise the awareness, some high-profile sacrifices are necessary. Hope they'd also block Wikipedia.

Disclaimer: yep, I'm Russian. Had some issues accessing GitHub. Between inconvenience and censorship I'd chose the former any day.

They are also blocking sites that have references to virtual (drawn or CG) molesting like danbooru or chan.sankakucomplex nowadays. I.e. this bullshit stepped into domain of thought police already. And a thought police is a certain "Nope!" sign whether it is for good (awareness) or not.

Looks like this happened a couple months ago too: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8401784

This is shit. Few weeks ago I looks to the situation with "black list" afar. I absolutely wasn't involved and don't believe that this "initiative" will "touch" me someday. Yesterday it happened. Important website that I use everyday was blocked. And now its seriously. I cant access it. My internet provider said that it's a law and he can't help me. Now I need to setup VPN for commit to github. And I already understand that it's temporary solution and the government can forbid VPN too in future.

I really don't now what to do and how to affect the situation. The most fun thing - that 85% of persons in this country now think that "it's just some another porn site was blocked, Putin care us and our children's". Sad reality.

Yes, it is. We have to use VPN in order to pass the filter.

I often find `ssh -D` to setup a local socks proxy far easier than using VPN assuming you have a machine you can connect to in a state that hasn't blocked the sites you are trying to reach.

Checkout sshuttle if you want an easy-to-use "VPN" over SSH.


Maybe the VPN is not needed at all. Try with and accept the certificate if it has A0:C4:A7:46:00:ED:A7:2D:C0:BE:CB:9A:8C:B6:07:CA:58:EE:74:5E SHA-1 fingerprint.

(The uploaders can be related to the companies selling VPN access to Russians.)

I suppose not all ISPs are obliged to comply with the ban (or not willing to; or maybe it takes time to propagate). I'm from Moscow and have not had a problem accessing github.com with my local provider either yesterday or today. However, it is banned on my cell network.

Github works for me, I'm in Yekaterinburg. I don't belive that ban, if realy exists and enforced, will last long. They, people with that list, do stupid things from time to time, but it's fixed most of the time.

Wow, a whole thread about Internet censorship and not one mention of the Tor project and their bridges and obfuscated pluggable transports? Tor is not just for anonymity but also for censorship avoidance.

https://www.torproject.org/ https://www.torproject.org/docs/bridges.html https://www.torproject.org/docs/pluggable-transports.html

Interesting development. Github was temporarily blocked in China in january because it was used to host politically sensitive information. However, it was later unblocked because the site's economic importance is too great to the Chinese government to warrant a complete block https://en.greatfire.org/blog/2013/jan/github-blocked-china-...

Since "gitlab.com" have no relation to "gas and oil" business, it has zero economic importance for russian government.

Russian here.

Guys, let's face it: we have a Great Firewall of Russia now, like in China.

Everyone who wants to continue to work with Github should install TOR, here's how to do it for Linux Mint 17: http://procedural.tumblr.com/post/104233731883

Also, you can discuss it with me on HN: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8695299

I am glad I don't have to put up (and put in) with censorship shit like this. I wonder if Hacker News is also blocked in some countries?

What does it take to get the privilege to get blocked in Russia and China? Is it enough that someone on HN post things like "Justin Bieber is so cute I wish I was gay" or "the only difference between a suicide and a martyrdom really is the amount of press coverage"?

To make "git clone https://github.com/xxx" work, just add ' github.com' to /etc/hosts. Only git will work, not web browser.

This is sad!

I work with some people from Russia on some stuff on GitHub and this is not going to help. :(

I live in China and many websites has already been blocked here such as Google, Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, etc.

How could you imagine that one person in this planet do not know Google? And this will be happen in China.

Here, some freedom has already been lost.



There is something about suicides on github in russian.

One more copy of the "want to be funny" text which includes the "start the third world war" advice. But also "chop your own tongue, die from bleeding." The guy who posted it maybe isn't involved with the VPN tunnel sellers but it seems it simply became a meme. People like to do something easy (like just copying a file) and feel good for "provoking" something. At the moment it's just a denial of service for the programmers in Russia. Let's see how long it lasts.

Does anyone know of any other information that's politically sensitive to the Russian authorities that was posted on Github? It can't be just this on text on suicide methods, right?

“I understand why he has to do this—to prove he’s a man. He’s afraid of his own weakness. Russia has nothing, no successful politics or economy. All they have is this.”

-Angela Merkel

Good thing git is decentralized...

Oh. People won't deal with changes from outside GH pull requests? Damn.

Hah, I've actually some discussions in spirit of "oh, we really need some distributed, peer-to-peer GitHub."

I literally facepalm'd.

(And, no, that wasn't about the issue tracker.)

It's really interesting to read the comments of Russian HN readers.

Damn Microsoft. If only they had made NTFS Object Idenitifers easier.

Why are there text files describing methods of suicide on GitHub anyway? From what I can tell they show up in seemingly unrelated repos. Are these just bandwagoning in protest or am I missing something?

I have no idea why my question was downvoted. GitHub is a social site built around a software for version control, primarily for code. GitHub also has a history of removing content that uses GitHub for other purposes (e.g. GamerGate raid/doxing coordination).

The reason I'm confused is that most of the examples I was able to find that match the claim are text files in otherwise unrelated repositories. It is odd to find a text file describing ways to off yourself in a source code repository that has nothing else to do with suicide.

Also, unless it's a more complex document (e.g. an e-book), sites like GitHub Gists or Pastebin would seem to be more likely choices than GitHub proper.

>Are these just bandwagoning in protest or am I missing something?

Some are. Some other just host blogs or something with funny satiric poetry.

They were committed by protestor or just troll.

In Soviet Russia, repository commits you.

Holy shmoly! Is wordpress.org the next?

>Is wordpress.org the next?

They've blocked YouTube once for a day or two.

btw, russian constitution/article 29/paragraph 5:

"The freedom of mass communication shall be guaranteed. Censorship shall be banned."

These two can't be compared. I wouldn't mind much them blocking wordpress.org (I rarely visit it and when I do, I can circumvent).

GitHub, or, for the matter SO, will be a big hit.

Note the domain. Wordpress.org, not wordpress.com.

I understand perfectly, I'm just saying not as many people depend on Wordpress as on GH or SO.

Personally, I don't recall last time I had to deal with it.

They already did that, some wordpress entry IP addresses were banned for like a year.

Very sad thing. I feel for you.

git commit suicide

That's surprising to hear. I thought in Russia, Github blocks you.

Has an official reason even been given? or is it just a case of "this site is blocked, suck it up, Mother Russia ftw"

According to the article, Github was blocked due to "the placement of text describing the methods of suicide".

The answer is in the first paragraph. RTFA.

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