When I was growing up in the '80s, the USSR was the evil empire. Communism was bad.
Red, white, and blue. So Proudly we hail. Yippee-Ki-Yay, Mother Fucker!
Then the Soviet Union collapsed. The Berlin Wall fell. The specter of our youth died. It was a brand-new world.
I joined Livejournal on October 30, 2002, just short of fifteen years ago. I was following in Kimberly's footsteps, as I'd been working to emulate her idea of keeping a regular journal since I met her.
My first journal briefly commented on an article about the death of Senator Paul Wellstone, who had passed a few days earlier. My post was indicative of the increasing polarization of the US political system. I wrote about "President" Bush, with his title in quotes because of the illegitimacy of his election, which was decided by the Supreme Court.
Then fourteen and a half years and 2201 journal entries flew by.
The more things change, eh? I don't even use the word "President" when referring to Trump. He hasn't earned it, and he likely never will. And his illegitimacy is even greater, because by all indications he committed treason by working with Russia, who was engaged in illegal espionage to get him elected.
Russia. The remnant of the USSR.
I don't have a strong memory of Russia becoming a world threat again. Looking back, though, it was obviously a Y2K problem.
President Yeltsin resigned on 12/31/99, handing the control of the country to Putin, who's held it through various titles ever since. But, my first visceral memory is the poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko
. I remember it as a uranium poisoning delivered at the point of an umbrella under direct orders from Putin. Heck, I remember Putin administering it himself, walking down the street in London with his umbrella in hand and a bowler hat on his head.
(Memories aren't reliable.)
In any case, it was my first sign that the Evil Empire was back. That an evil fascist reactionary had taken control of the biggest part of the former Soviet Union.
And he was so evil. It was like the head of Hydra had climbed out of the TV screen to take over the world.
I'm sure he has a white cat that he strokes obsessively.
Meanwhile, Livejournal, which was founded just nine months before Yeltsin stepped down from office, was sold to Russian interests in December 2007. Though LiveJournal's influence was probably already fading in the American blogging field due to the advent of Facebook (2004) and Twitter (2006), its name had become synonymous with blogging in Russia.
I think many of us were somewhat concerned by the move. We wondered if English support would fade away, if Livejournal in the western world would go into decline. And, it did. My friends slowly disappearing might have been the result of the FB/Twitter-induced decline. However, the new level of neglect toward the software was more obviously a result of the Russian purchase. I still can't use rich text on Livejournal because it's been buggy for years (a decade?), such that if you backspace after you're in italics, you start erasing random text (or something like that).
However, the Russians who used Livejournal were probably even more concerned. They knew their country was heading back toward fascism; their blogging platform suddenly existing without that fascist space must have been terrifying.
Even here on Dreamwidth, rich text still doesn't have horizontal rules, which makes it less than perfectly useful.
How does everyone else get by without horizontal rules!?
Surprisingly, it took a full nine years for the other shoe to drop.
In December 2016, Livejournal moved their servers to Russia.
Then, in the last few weeks, they unveiled a new fascist TOS that makes them beholden to the Russian regime.
Literally, Livejournal is now under Russian law. And they spelled out two of the laws more specifically.
First, it's now illegal to talk politics. Various bloggers suggest that it's out of fear of criticism of that monster Putin, in advance of his new "election".
Second, Livejournal is now subject to Russia's homophobic, anti-LGBT laws.
So, it's not just Russian censorship, it's Russian mind control: a bigoted effort to change society by going after some of its most vulnerable members.
(And there's more, like popular LJ accounts being forced in register in Russia as media outlets, believe it or not.)
That's why I'm abandoning Livejournal like a bigoted, hateful, and sinking ship. If you're on Livejournal I hope you'll take the earliest opportunity to do the same.
Your content is no longer safe there. You're now supporting a repressive state. There's news out this week about concentration camps for gay people in Chechnya
. Livejournal has become a part of that problem and is making it worse with their censorship of LGBT topics.
In moving my content to another site, Dreamwidth was the obvious choice. It uses the Livejournal software, and is run by ex-LJ people. The import was easy (though it took two days and I'm still waiting on the comments), and the interface is largely identical.
My only concern is that Dreamwidth isn't as well-known as Livejournal, and so if I want to move the journal again
, it becomes more problematic.
And, that might be problematic, because I have an idea of spinning up a VPS some day to run a multi-site WordPress with my Livejournal, my Mechanics & Meeples, some iteration of my Designers & Dragons, and possibly my web site too. It's better to have all that stuff under my control, not at other services, as they are now.
But, that's not a problem for today, and especially not when my Bluehost site for M&M has been paid out for the next three years or something.
And that's why I've abandoned Livejournal.
Screw Putin. He's a sociopathic monster.
Meanwhile, the LGBT community has my fullest support. You are my brothers and sisters, and you deserve the same rights and respect as everyone else in the world.