Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Crowdsourcing lustration and vigilante justice

Surfing the blogs of the Russian extremists - what a fun job I have! - I stumbled upon a link to an interesting new site called Shpik. The site advertises itself as a "database of people liable for lustration". A quick historical note: "Lustration" is not just another fancy GRE world; it's been quite common in Central and Eastern Europe in the 1990s, mostly as a means of purifying the state of the former communist apparatchiks (lustration never really reached Russia).Here is the original notice that greets visitors to the site (in my own translation, which is probably not ideal): "Dear visitors! For the first time in the history of modern Russia, you are looking at a regularly updated database that lists people liable for lustration. People who have committed human rights violations while on duty and who have participated in repressions against the opposition, activists and mere dissenters.Comitting their crimes, many of them are sure that they will remain unnoticed and unpunished. But this ain't so. Sooner or later, every person mentioned on this site would need to publicly account for what they have done." Currently, the site features the profiles of 441 "criminals", as well as 175 "events", 23 testimonies, and 191 photos. One can easily add new names and events to the site - it relies on the Wiki principle of "anyone can contribute". The objective, as far as I understand, is to identify future candidates for lustration and document their misbehavior. There is also an interesting section for those officials who have not yet been fully identified - some may be missing a photo or a full title - and anyone can fill that in, in the good old Wikipedia spirit.To Learn More Click Here

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