Richard Stallman scared of Russia
Alexey Andreyev, Webplanet.ru
The visit of the Free Software Foundation leader Richard Stallman to Russia in March 2008 could be canceled because of the problems with too-late visa application. A part of the trouble appeared to be Stallman's rejection to get help from Victor Alksnis, the State Duma member and the only Russian politician who helps Free Software and Open Source movements in Russia.
Alksnis promoted Stallman's upcoming visit thru his blog posts, and said he could help with "administrative issues" as well. However, the moderator of linux.org.ru Sergey Udaltsov (who lives in Ireland not Russia) wrote a letter to Stallman
saying Alksnis is a bad guy for Free Software, because of "his fight against the independence of the Baltic countries" in late 80s. Udaltsov also says Alksnis wants to use GNU/Linux for his own political goals including the creation of Russian "National OS" (independent from Microsoft). After this letter, Richard Stallman said he didn't want Alksnis to organize his visit to Russia. Perhaps, Stallman won't come at all.
We at Webplanet.ru think the rout of this problem in not politics but the "language barrier" we already described
. Western folks don't know much about Russian IT situation 'cos they don't read Russian. The only information channel for them is "former Russians" who live abroad and speak English - like Irelander Sergey Udaltsov who controls linux.org.ru. But these "foreign Russians" usually get pretty paranoid about their "former motherland" calling it a dictatorship daily (perhaps as an excuse for their departure). So we hope Russian linuxoids find some sane local leaders. No need to marry free software and politicians, it's true. Yet we don't see why Free Software activity in Russia should be killed by some old-fashioned Cold War rhetorics from Ireland.