Big Brother Putin is watching us all

Masha Karp on the 70th anniversary of the publication of Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four

The World Today Updated 6 November 2020 Published 26 May 2019 2 minute READ

Masha Karp

London-based journalist and author of the first literary biography of George Orwell in Russian

‘A ban is the greatest freedom of all. Because then you know: this is banned, but with everything else you can do what you want. And what are rights? They’re the biggest lack of freedom. The more rights we have, the less free we are.’

This was not a loose paraphrase of the Nineteen Eighty-Four Party slogan ‘Freedom is Slavery’. This was actually said, without a thought about Orwell, on April 22, 2019, by Russian politician Yelena Mizulina at an internet safety forum in Moscow. It could have been funny, had not the Russian government actually adopted the law, due to come into force in November, which prescribes isolating the Russian part of the internet from the rest of the World Wide Web – for the sake of its safety, of course.

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