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The Russian people and the NY Times have a chat

Posted on the February 25th, 2008

Yesterday, the ways and means President Vladimir Putin uses to govern Russia was the subject of a New York Times article (“Putin’s Iron Grip on Russia Suffocates Opponents” by Clifford J. Levy, Feb 24, 2008). The piece, including quotes from several Russians interviewed, offers a glimpse into Russia’s inner world these days.

Equally or, perhaps, of even greater interest is that the NY Times editors decided to translate their article into Russian and post it, according to the Times, on Russia’s most popular blogging website, www.livejournal.ru. The Times editors also solicited comments about the article from the blog platform’s Russian readers.

So what happened?

Today, a follow-up article ran in the NY Times, analyzing the Russian public’s response (“An Article Brings Sharp Responses From Russians” by Clifford J. Levy, Feb 25, 2008). The talkback was sizable, spirited and varied. By the end of yesterday, almost 3,000 comments had been logged in, the Times editors reported:

“The Moscow bureau of The Times reviewed the comments in Russian and translated scores that were representative of the strains of opinion on the site. The translations in English were then posted in the comments section that accompanied the article on www.nytimes.com.”

The primary motivation behind the Times editors asking translators to do all this back and forth translating between English and Russian, they said, was “to give readers a better feel for Russian opinion.”

UPDATE: Questo post in italiano

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