[Air-L] Before Iran, Tunisia and Egypt, the Soviet coup attempt

Alex Randall arandal at uvi.edu
Tue Feb 1 10:08:08 PST 2011

My organization supplied the models to the Usenet in Moscon from 1989 to
1995... We were on the ground at a conference in Prague when that coup
attempt occurred. 
The Coup leaders deployed the army to surround the telegraph building in
Moscow - right out of the 1950's coup playbook. 

We were in constant contact with our folks in Moscow who was busy
organizing the events without interference. 
The new media is always under the radar of the old regime. 

I detail this in my recent book. Life lessons from Louie Motherball,
Margaret Mead and the Good news Guy.  2010, Outskirts press
See www.tiny.cc/alex5 

Our new media have given us the illusion of freedom and openness while
actually giving the dictators a free hand to track and identify the
opposition leadership and all their friends. 

I note: 

"We have met Big Brother and he is us."

Alex Randall 

> -----Original Message-----
> From: air-l-bounces at listserv.aoir.org [mailto:air-l-
> bounces at listserv.aoir.org] On Behalf Of Larry Press
> Sent: Tuesday, February 01, 2011 1:03 AM
> To: air-l at listserv.aoir.org
> Subject: [Air-L] Before Iran, Tunisia and Egypt, the Soviet coup
> The first example of network citizen journalism may have been during
> August 1991 coup attempt by eight high level Soviet officials. There
> were two days of confrontation between demonstrators and troops,
> which all Russian media except Usenet news groups were shut down by
> authorities. Usenet, a precursor of today's Internet discussion
> carried traffic into, out of and within Russia (70 cities) during the
> days of the coup attempt.
> One of the quotes from that time foreshadows the Internet shut down in
> Egypt today. Polina Antonova of RELCOM, the Unix distributor that
> operated the network wrote:
> "They try to close all mass media, they stopped CNN an hour ago, and
> Soviet TV transmits opera and old movies.  But, thank Heaven, they
> consider RELCOM mass media or they simply forgot about it.  Now we
> transmit information enough to put us in prison for the rest of our
> After two tense days, the coup failed and president Mikhail Gorbachev
> was restored to power. For more on the role of the network during the
> coup attempt, including links to archives of the traffic, see:
> Larry Press
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