Oleg Kozlovsky’s English Weblog

Politics, Democracy and Human Rights in Russia

Western Aid: Parachuting Transmitters, Not Receivers

with one comment

The most brilliant speech that I watched at the Conference on Cybe Dissidents was of Ethan Zuckerman from Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University. When talking about how the new technologies changed democracy promotion, he said that now, instead of “parachuting receivers” to citizens of authoritarian countries you should be “parachuting transmitters.” In other words, the new tehcnologies empower people and give them more capacity to improve things from within.

This is very close to my perception of foreign assistance: it shouldn’t be about building democracy from outside, but about bringing tools so that people can build democracy for themselves.


Written by Oleg Kozlovsky

April 20, 2010 at 20:08

One Response

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  1. Perhaps that is why, Oleg, the Kremlin is moving aggressively to choke off Russians’ access to technology that could empower people. That segment of Russian society that has access to any form of empowering technology is miniscule and growing smaller by the day. Two-thirds of the population, the same group that supports Putin like blind, bleeting sheep, has no access to technology at all. It’s hard to see it as Russia’s salvation. Likely, that must come the same way it always has in Russia, grass-roots, brick-and-mortar revolution. Maybe even the violence that Khodorkovsky recently warned about, because the non-violent movement is hardly in a position to call a different tune.


    April 21, 2010 at 00:22

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