The Future of Russian project is well represented in the most recent, fifth, issue of the online academic journal Digital Icons. Two articles, a mobile phone ringtone (!), a report from the latest Future of Russian conference, a review of From Poets to Padonki and a review written by one of the core group members, means that this issue gives a good impression of what the project group has been up to lately.

Michael Gorham’s article “Virtual Rusophonia: Language Policy as ‘Soft Power’ in the New Media Age” explores two state-sponsored attempts to use language and new technology as tools for creating new spaces of ‘Russianness’ online — the ‘Russian World Foundation’ (Fond ‘Russkii Mir’) and the ‘.rf’ Cyrillic internet domain project. Gorham argues that “they present quite different, if not mutually exclusive visions, each fraught with tensions between the de-centred nature of web-based communication and the top-down, paternalistic penchants of the Putin-era political elite.”

In a German language article Henrike Schmidt turns to the evolving Russian e-book market in her article “LitRes. A Critical Review of Russia’s e-Book Seller No1“. She discusses how one of the leading Russian e-book book stores, LitRes, has had to position itself between various free-of-charge online libraries in its attempt to establish a legal service for e-books.

Roman Leibov’s contribution to the issue is tje self-made mobile phone ringtone Leviton. Leibov explains why “this pretty boring primitive and otherwise horrible melody” reminds him of “the summer of 2007, intertextual  studies, the awful taste of Russian beer Staryi mel’nik iz bochonka, and of the fast pace of frivolous life.”

In addition the issue contains Daniel Müller’s report on the RuNet in a Global Context conference, Galina Miazhevich’s review of the From Poets to Padonki volume of the Slavica Bergensia series, and Martin Paulsen’s review of the two books Internationalizing Internet Studies: Beyond Anglophone Paradigms and Internationalizing Media Studies.

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