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Goblin Interviews Alexandra Elbakian

May 22, 2021 — In this video Dmitry Puchkov interviews Alexandra Elbakian. I do not speak Russian but had it translated. This is a first draft, the translation needs a lot of work, but perhaps it can be skimmed for interesting quotes. If you have a link to a better transcript, or can improve this one, pull requests are welcome (My whole site is public domain, and the source is on GitHub).

D: I salute you profoundly. Alexandra good afternoon.
A: Hello.
D: Please introduce yourself.
A: My name is Alexander Elbakian. I am known as the creator of the pirate website.
D: Oh, we have never had a pirate like this before.
A: Yeah.
D: What do you pirate?
A: Scientific articles. Well, generally speaking, when people talk about pirate websites, they usually mean some pirated movies or pirated music but very rarely do they talk about the fact that there's a lot of websites where they put free scientific literature which everyone can read and there are a lot of pirated and here is one of these websites is a Sci-Hub which I created
D: And what is in there?
A: Well, there is 85 million scientific papers almost all of them in English. Really, well, English is now the international language of science so if you look at the popularity of this site, it has about half a million unique visitors every day.
D: However, not the dumbest visitors
A: Yes, they are mostly scientists and students.
D: Technically, how is this organized? Is it sitting in a basement somewhere and scanning scientific journals and then put them out or you can pull them up to you.
A: Well, technically, there's nothing being scanned. I mean, yes, there used to be a lot of pirate websites they work like that book websites that is where the user registering without uploading materials, well some books that they're like that it was especially widespread a long time ago that people scanned books and put them on the internet, now of course everything is in electronic form so pirated scientific literature is the most downloaded. I mean, it's already out there digitized. It is in its original digital form.
D: It is like someone bought it and then starts giving it away . I guess so.
A: Yeah, well, if you are talking specifically about the Sci - hub it's a little bit more complicated it's connected to libraries at western universities and from there it downloads what's in those libraries and puts them in its databases just like that.
D: And the libraries are free?
A: If it's a library, for example, it's subscribed to some kind of scientific journal, then in that library has that journal available for free and if you try to for example to read it on the website the publisher's website then you have to each article there you have to pay for example 30-40 dollars and so on, but it's a very a lot of money, so the need for such a website is very high. So you can enter to this website and those articles that cost 30-40 dollars there to read for free
D: It's on the site so there's no confusion. Here for example how to find it there the University of Massachusetts, but it's subscribed to some journal and if I go to the Massachusetts to the library there, can I read it for free?
A: Well, yeah.
D: The articles that are on the publisher's website sells for $30 one article.
A: Well you can usually go to the library at Massachusetts University only if you're an employee or a student at that university. You need access to, like, the point of the Sci-Hub is is that this software that takes these accesses and there are a few hundreds of thousands and automatically downloads it all from libraries.
D: And what does the law say on that? Well, in our world of clean money, there's some kind of law that says you can't do that.
A: of course the site has been repeatedly sued in various courts in different countries in the United States there in France in Austria in Italy in Russia so where else in the United Kingdom. And for example in United States the work of the site officially banned by the court well the truth is there's still a lot of people from there use this website, in other countries access to the site is blocked at the ISP level like in Russia for example Roskomnadzor but still continues to work, something like this. I basically want to prove that it's all legal because it's more like illegal should be that the important scientific literature it's available at such enormous prices. So it turns out that scientific knowledge they've become available only to some elites and we would like it to be available to all the people.
D: It's basically the system. I am not very knowledgeable but it seems to me that all textbooks they cost a hell of a lot of money, all the special literature costs a hell of a lot of money and everyone always explains it by the fact that they have exceptionally small print runs and they print on good paper there with graphics, illustrations, pictures and it's kind of expensive and that's why it's like this. But if it's thousands of dollars for one article it's crazy.
A: you know, how are these articles basically what size can they be from, like, five up to 40 pages. the size of a scientific article. Well in principle here this problem is so acute that it's basically started to hinder the development of science itself. Well, it's the access to literature.
D: With the advent of the internet, I think the whole concept of copyrights has gone into. I think you just have to come at it from the other side, that is, if for this book that you printed on really good paper there with color illustrations and stuff that expensive if you do it all in electronically it's somehow a lot cheaper and the question comes back to my illiterate view in a different way that is if this one costs $30 and this one probably 30 cents should be at the racks.
A: So it's in the electronic article is $30, that's what I'm talking about. Yes, you can in principle now they have made that you can rent an article for example So it was a one day access. then for example it would cost 5 dollars and if you download the whole thing forever then it's 30 to 40 dollars and that's true. Of course, and that's why a lot of people don't have access to the literature that you need right now a lot of scientists there are students, people who are doing professional science and and it's not just there that this problem it's not just a problem in some poor countries but everywhere, including abroad In the United States in general has been for a long time this problem has been discussed probably since the 90's and they've been tried to solve this problem,
D: and how they solve it
A: They solved it by, for example, creating special open access journals that work on the model that initially for the costs of publishing the paper itself is covered by the author, as a rule, from the grant. That is, scientists do some kind of work they have a grant for example and part of this grant they keep the magazine and the magazine uses this money to, as it were posts an article and then that article is available for everyone to read for free but they came up with this model when they were just starting the internet in the 90's they had a lot of idealistic scientists in the West there was this dream that just everybody would start, well basically scientific journals and scientific publishing house they wouldn't need them, I mean scientists they would start to put all their works and they'll be free to read that one. But despite the fact that such websites like archive.org have appeared in general as if there's some kind of global change it didn't lead to that.
D: Why?
A: Well, that is because, you know when papers are published in some famous journal, then it turns out that a scientist gets recognition if you just put the work on your website then anybody can do that and this way it turns out that if it's published somewhere, then it's passed some kind of filter and so in your career this article will be taken into account. It is like this.
D: On the one hand, it makes sense, of course. There must be some kind of, I don't know, scientific board. editorial board should be absolutely. But again, if you make money from this, but we have capitalism and they make money then with a different model, so to speak. you have a circulation let's say a book of 5000 and here 500 electronically and if you're selling for $30 here and here for 30 cents, then 500 is much it's more important that you can make more money you can make more money online what's the point it's just until it breaks. I remember when up until relatively recently somewhere in the early 2000's Stephen King a famous writer, he decided to publish his book that the publishers were getting fed up with it. He thought of all this a long time ago, but after a while time Steven King gave up because at that time the cash change system wasn't worked out and even such a mega popular author it didn't work out and now for example a lot of authors with selling e-books get a lot more exactly a lot more than selling paper books and a lot of authors don't sell paper books at all because publishing online is much more profitable and what's stopping them?
A: Well a paper book they in principle is nice purely as a the subject there are beautiful pages and so further. Well what is its value of a paper book right now?
D: (🕰10:00) Purely for work, of course they're inconvenient and and it's a nonsense to scribble something with a fountain pen to write something out is nonsense and for searching anything with a fountain pen is totally unusable. So what, Why don't they want to do it?
A: Why don't science publishers want to sell everything cheaper?
D: Yeah.
A: Well, that is probably more of a question to them, but the thing is if you look at the history of this issue, somewhere in the twentieth century, back in the scientific journals they were sort of published by the scientific communities and mostly on a non-profit basis and towards the end of the twentieth century started to be bought up outright by these large commercial scientific publishers and now there's this kind of oligopoly There are some big publishers out there, like Elsevier, Springer, Wale, and others that they sort of kind of own almost all of the scientific communication between scientists, and so after they became owners of these scientific journals, they started very sharply raise on them. So in the graphs the price increases for scientific journals was several times higher than inflation.
D: I'm sorry to interrupt, maybe this is some kind of political bullshit that is conventionally the United States government is categorically not interested in having Chinese universities, Indian universities, I don't know Malay take this for free and and use it. That is when you are going to have scientists and we won't have enough and that's why we're going to screw up the price and cut you off that way.
A: Well that might actually happen because again if you look at this history of how this open science movement developed. That is, yes, when it became obvious that this problem with high prices and in basically not only in China, well it was written that even the richest universities in the richest countries have they had serious problems with to buy magazines and there one magazine subscription it can cost a few thousand dollars a year. In these magazines there are many thousands of them, so it turns out that by the early of the 2000's there's a movement in science to a Western movement for open access, you know. or open science which means stands for the fact that there's a whole this whole exchange of scientific information between scientists so that it would be completely free without any economic barriers. But if you look at the principle the term open science itself when it the first time it appears, it's somewhere in the '80s and there are some articles in there that talk specifically about the commercialization of science and there are some that talk about that the Pentagon somehow forbids, you know, in universities in the U.S. somehow it's free there to publish something free rules to hold conferences and that's why scientists they're advocating that everything should be open and that it doesn't really it doesn't really have any effect on the security country. But if we talk about the Soviet Union that was still then the Soviet Union it will steal sooner or later anyway and if you kind of shut everything down like this the exchange of scientific information then it would just it's just going to hurt science itself, i.e. science itself it will not be able to develop quickly.
D: It can't exist apart from politics if it's like the famous Manhattan project when the Americans were building the atomic bomb and the Bolsheviks allegedly stole it and as it turns out in the games they didn't steal anything. and those who created the Manhattan Project Manhattan Project and those who worked on it knowing what kind of degenerates you are at the helm of the United States as people who are intellectually gifted, you can't to have something like that on your own. They purposefully leaked it to the Bolsheviks. And they weren't leaking secrets, they were explaining in which directions they shouldn't work that they had already worked on this super fictitious, you have to dig here so who stole from whom is somehow who stole who is suspicious.
A: Well in general the American PR machine is very powerful and that is why of course any developments they as their own or something that was stolen from them. in my opinion.
D: That is, their economic well-being rests solely on military power so the military, so I can't say that they're getting into science they live off of it I mean the defense of the country is based on science. Naturally, they will not allow the secrecy not let them raise the price of something else. If you give it to everyone you will destroy all the competitive advantages and where will the money come from then that is this political bullshit is fine.
A: But it's just that in publications from the '80s. you can find echoes of this conflict between scientists in the United States and the Pentagon and that the Pentagon was trying to sort of forbid it and they objected by saying that if like a secret, then science just wouldn't develop quickly that science is sort of based on the common ownership of the results of scientific knowledge and science is based on free communication. That is, and in those branches of of science where communication, the exchange of scientific results are the most rapid and freely those and develop much faster.
D: Well, it depends on what kind of science if I do not know Shakespeare's work or Homer's work it's understandable that no one needs it, but if it's about war and advanced technology like that and I don't know if there are bans on for example selling technology to the soviet union like the Jacksons amendment where there's – “but you can't” I remember there were wild hysteria when Toshiba sold some milling machines that the Bolsheviks immediately started to turn special propellers for submarines. And the submarines were no longer heard in the ocean and that poor Toshiba was being robbed there and just all voices of America.
A: I remember a company like that.
D: They were choking on what the Bolsheviks there had sold that they weren't allowed to sell and if the results of scientific research to put out like this then the insidious Chinese Bolsheviks will look at it and start making the chips themselves and through that they will start for example they'll start building some kind of powerful computing machines that with China's money they'll immediately to outrun the United States. They will start simulating nuclear explosions and then the the U.S. is nowhere and money will be taken away from everyone, everything will be forbid .It is impossible to allow it open. I suspect scientists are some kind of crypto Bolsheviks they think that there are no states no contradictions between states let's give them all away so it doesn't happen
A: The point is that collectivism and communism is kind of at the core of science
D: actually all the scientists there are leftists.
A: Well, basically the theory is that like after that the Soviet Union collapsed the Pentagon probably lost the ability to say that they had to keep everything secret so that they wouldn't play the soviet union and probably decided then to put an economic barrier I mean maybe that is the version or maybe it's just some kind of unprecedented greed of scientific of publishing. Of course, they just want to make more profit if they can do it, but that's what it leads to such results
D: I used to be deep into computer games like the way movies are in music there are a number of citizens in the west who are just like these scientists they think that all information should be distributed for free and be available to everyone, so here are the creators of the toy built their toy working out there for two years for monstrous money and stuff. They brought the disk to the factory and says that it needs to be printed Then guys put it in the computer one way so to speak they make an image and then they start printing and before the disks ready to go out of the factory they put it all on the websites for free. So they do it for free. they're doing it for free and they're not make a profit. Then they start screaming that look at all the Russian pirates locked up in the U.S. Let's start from here and your Russians they printed here stolen there and sell it, that's the point. Well, you don't sell other people's notes, do you?
A: No, if we're talking about differences for example a computer industry with science, the thing about science is that the authors don't get any money at all from the sale of these articles absolutely that is initially why else in the same the United States, this topic has caused such outrage was caused by the fact that the taxpayers are funding this science. So the taxpayers pay the money and then the government out of that money gives grants to scientists to do the research. And the grants are big and they do these research and based on the results of this of these studies they write these scientific articles in magazines and then they send them to a scientific publishing house and the scientific publishing house closes it and puts a high price tag on it and that's it. Of course it's no longer the author himself like the citizens of the country can't get access to these scientific or the authors themselves.
D: Which made on their tax.
A: Yes.
D: and this outrageous.
A: Well yes if you look at the profits of these scientific corporations, it's out there. surpasses Google, BMW and our oil banking industries.
D: Not bad.
A: Yeah surpassing the profits of these corporations.
D: How is it that you got the idea to take it all down.
A: Well, how can I put it? When I was a student myself (🕰20:00) at the university, you know, when I was graduating and I was studying to be a computer scientist with a degree in security.
D: Here you go. You are a hacker.
A: Ihad such a dream when I was a kid and maybe I thought about becoming a hacker or something like that. I know, but it was very fashionable back then and yeah. when I was graduating from university I didn't know anything about it. and I wanted to do a degree in neuro-computer interface that is that's just the kind of projects that are the most famous of which is the chip brain Ilona Mask. There is a lot of talk about it now, but basically it's pretty old theme, I mean in 2003 you can see there's this scientist Theodor Berger, he was developing a hippocampal implant. of the hippocampus. So for the brain, it's kind of like artificial memory or something like that. I do not really know if he ended up didn’t work out, but there was a lot of writing about it. And at the time when I graduated university, it was like in 2009 they were writing more about neuro-computer interfaces, you know, you put some kind of a cap on your head and you could sort of you could, like, use your mind to control the mouse cursor on the on the screen.
D: So how ?
A: Well of course it's actually all it's quite complicated and it's a lot of work. But for handicapped people it might have use because they don't have any other way, but of course a healthy person it's easier to do it with their hands. The technology is very interesting and yes and at the time and I wanted to to look for something in that direction in my diploma and I had a hypothesis there was that like, to enter the password with my mind. I mean that is to use this fingerprint of the brain as a password and so I started searching the internet for information on this and all the information was in these expensive scientific journals. I even remember at the time that I was very confused, well I basically spent all the time at school while I was studying at university I was using different pirate sites to download science books. Therefore, I thought that, like these science journals I could download somewhere for free, but on the Internet it's like everything's already out there. I looked on torrents somewhere else and there wasn't anything anywhere and already I thought there must be some kind of program maybe or some kind of website so that you could scientific journals downloaded for free. It was around 2009, well, two years later in 2011 I started communicating on online forums on scientific forums and was a frequent visitor of the molecular biology forum. That forum was Russian-speaking and there were both scientists from Russia and those who had gone abroad.
D: Soviet kind of people.
A: Yes, Soviet, and there were a lot of people there people with this kind of problem. They couldn't get access to some magazines and for them there was a a special section which was called full text well by the way it's still there and you can see that a person went in there and put an ad in there, like, can you help me download this kind of article and for example some colleague who's gone abroad he can see it and send it the person here if he himself had access of course. Because even in western universities, not all journals have access especially at these prices, of course they only subscribe only some of them. Every university is only subscribed to a certain part of journals and of course there are individual universities that have very good subscriptions there are a lot of them available but not many of them.
D: But maybe there are some kind of mega sponsors who can pay for it.
A: I have noticed that for some reason Canadian universities have good subscriptions.
D: Maybe the Americans help them out like a beggar.
A: Yeah, Canada is an interesting country. I mean you don't hear much about it and there is also has the country of Indonesia I mean if you look at it for example the countries that are most use the Sci-Hub there would be India, China, Brazil, and those are more or less well known and then all of a sudden I saw on the list that there was Indonesia and I was very surprised because I've never heard anything about it.
D: I have relatives there and they have good universities there.
A: And they're also one of the of the most active users. At least in the news this country doesn't show up much in the news.
D: I don't remember exactly but about 300 million people live there. In terms of population, it is gigantic. So where were we,
A: There was a place where people were helping each other and maybe not exactly legal in terms of the law that's a little bit of an issue, too. Although it's still not exactly the same as when you just put some paid scientific articles in the public domain for free so that everyone to download.
D: I am sorry to interrupt on this one. I think it is a terribly complicated question. I bought a book for example and then my woman read it and then she gave it to her friend and she gave it to her husband if it's right that they read it for free, well, it's broken. Right. I mean, with the advent of the internet and the ability to read and it's all about the money, I still have the same idea that it shouldn't cost that much and then it's all solved instantly. I used to serve in the police and they paid 200 rubles per caught murderer and a computer game cost 495, so it was to catch two and a half killers in order for me to buy one computer game, well this is nonsense.
A: what time was it?
D: In the '90s and for example, my salary was 1,080 rubles, and one DVD with a western movie cost 900 rubles. So how it impossible, how do you even eat here for a month of hard work, . and here you see some stupid piece of plastic costs 900 rubles or something like this.
A: Well, of course it is hard to make a movie, but look at the salaries thhses actors get. It seems to me they could be cheaper.
D: That is why in high school firstly you had to take singing lessons to sing like Olga Buzova and P.E. classes to bounce like some basketball player, and the the rest is bullshit because these people live better than anyone else, obviously.
A: And by the way, those same soccer players there's match broadcasting and stuff like that.
D: Next thing you know, this cost me 1,000 rubles and this costs 900 rubles some stupid movie of highly dubious artistic merits. So time has passed and now that broadband internet and everything is good now I go in and there's a huge a lot of movies you can watch for free is one thing. but it looks like they're going to show you a little bit of advertising. Yeah. Either pay for it or, I do not know. starting at from 90 rubles to, like, 200 well, 300 and that's basically it's two cups of coffee, in fact, and so As a result, it is no longer stealing in in such quantities as they used to steal. They just changed the economic model and It's much easier for people to use two buttons on the phone and watch.
A: Well, people it might be easier, but it's led to to the fact that now we have some huge monopoly companies out there. YouTube, which owns the entire of the internet and in fact it seems to me I think there should still be a lot of small companies.
D: But they arbitrarily merge capitalism all the time there is no such thing as monopolization it's not just the united states there's, for example, antitrust legislation.
A: Well, it does not work.
D: Yes, it does.
A: It doesn't work with Facebook, it doesn't work with YouTube, it doesn't work with Google.
D: They wait for the buildup critical mass and then they start and then start dividing them up.
A: Yeah, but still YouTube benefits the very Americans who watch it. There's some kind of centralized system that's watched all over the world. It's politically biased, well, speaking of which give me access to the TV, I'll elect a monkey as president.
D: Well, I saw it recently.
A: You mean Biden.
D: Well, the thought occurred to me, yes. How to concentrate it all make it a single resource where it all would be.
A: So that's how it leads to capitalism, which is what it's based on. It exists at the expense of property rights in this case the right of intellectual property rights or just popularly known as copyright that is, if you create some kind of a website that's just going to show there the same movies and you don't have you don't have permission to do that then it's just going to be blocked by Roskomnadzor or whatever other countries have regulators. And then of course there shouldn't be Then of course there won't be a problem. To be honest it's just my opinion that it's necessary in principle to somehow get away from this notion of intellectual property and move to intellectual communism because it is in principle intellectual property is this (🕰30:00) some kind of self-contradictory notion.
D: I share this idea strongly, but I have to act as an opponent. So what was the decision? Making a wensite huh?
A: yes there was a lot of people who had that kind of problem and I remember that I worked as a freelancer in the summer. Well in the summer and in the spring I was taking orders mostly to create some kind of scripts and, you know. little web stories and. that's when it became clear to me how you could program a website that could automatically use different passwords there and automatically download. That is, a person will just go there and click a button and he download the article for free. But when I had this idea, I thought would it really work, I mean, I was just curious to see. If you run such a thing will it basically work or not and it turned out to really work. I posted on this forum that I was now a service for automatic access to scientific literature and I started all forum users to send out that's the ad and I got it just a thank you in return I mean, people were just dancing for joy. There was practically no one was saying how it's you can't steal, no, but everybody was just very happy and so basically this website immediately became so popular locally and then it just gradually grew, but in principle I knew of course that abroad there is a movement called - open access that is for open access which is for articles to be free. Well then, I did not go into the details of its history or whatever, I just knew that it existed and in principle to me its ideas seemed right to me and for me it was always something to do with communism, you know, if something is free and for everybody it's communism. There is a site gradually grew so much and already some of the details of that topic I I started to look into it later, some political details.
D: So everything was doing it on their own or who was there with a group of of enthusiasts?
A: No, there wasn't a group of enthusiasts. and there wasn't some kind of team I mean, this is the first version of the script I just sat down at my computer and I wrote it myself and since I was working as a freelancer it was basically for me it was something of a chore. For example you take an order and you make a program and then you publish it and basically just like I did with the website Sci-Hub.
D: So where do you get the university's passwords to the libraries come from.
A: That's how the passwords at the time there were forms where different people posted passwords like this and some of them were selling them, so there was for example one password is $40 there's 200 and some were for sale. I mean different places like that on the internet and basically if you just give somebody a password where you put it in the public domain you put it out there. it doesn't last very long and it will close right away and if it's like standing on the Sci-Hub and the Sci-Hub itself downloads all the user requests, then it is closed and respectively the password works. There some passwords worked for months and years at first so all users were downloading and everyone was happy. Then I remember that I had somewhere like well every university he signed up for something different. And so, for example, you need to get access to some article and you don't know which university had a subscription to that journal and you have for example there's ten or a hundred passwords and going through each password and checking and if there's access to that article. it's kind of a hassle and I also needed a program like this. Sci-Hub that can do this more less automatically. So at what
D: So how fast did it start to fill up?
A: at first, of course, there wasn't any base. I mean, it was just a subject matter,
D: is it wide-ranging from nuclear physics to some kind of archaeology?
A: Yes absolutely everything. I mean, any scientific journal out there. There is no difference in subject matter the humanities there's even philosophy on theology. By the way I'm thinking of doing in the future some kind of a selection of journals on theology from the Sci-Hub.
D: And that too for money?
A: Yeah. In addition, there is many humanities journals access is harder to find.
D: Are there fewer of them?
A: I don't know, maybe there's like less subscriptions or something.
D: so it is starting to fill up.
A: Yeah.
D: At what rate? How? Well, at first it was pumping about 40 60 articles an hour, and then it it all grew and it became more like 30 articles per minute.
D: A visitors started coming in.
A: Yeah.
D: how did visitation grow?
A: Well at first it was somewhere in the early days a few thousand visitors a day and it was mostly people from Russia. In Russia, I myself promoted the site on forums like this molecular biology forum then and then on the chemistry forum Himport.ru and I put an ad there too and people were happy about it but then I saw that it was placed on forum ru-board and then after a while about the website found it in china, India and Iran. I remember that there was such a huge flow of users that website just collapsed and I then of course I restricted it by IP address so you couldn't to download something from China.
D: Therefore, it was on some free service and that's why
A: Yes, the first time it was hosted on a free hosting, but then of course I moved it to something more expensive. I remember there for a long time it was on hosting which cost 40 euros a month and then on some more expensive one. So as it grew and there was a period of time when you couldn't download and you couldn't to go to the Sci-Hub from China or Iran. I also remember that when I turned it off the Iranian IPs from the Sci-Hub website there was a little tech support and there was a a huge bang from users from Iran. Moreover, it seems that after some time I gave them back
D: I mean, people who do not have any money finally have access to normal scientific literature. So how did the number of visitors grow? For what period how many became.
A: What period how many became. Well, basically, you can look it up now here on the computer. So well here's June 2012 for example there's somewhere around 2,000 to 3,000 unique visitors then by the end of the year jumped to two times 7 thousand visitors well the end of 2012 now look further . So for example from 13 to 15, so we're about September here thirteenth year here up to 30 thousand visitors then it goes up again. and then it drops off again, I guess. when it just spiked, I turned off the foreign pawns. September 2014 here are 10-20 thousand visitors Well the end of the year here again about 30.
D: For a scientific resource, that is a lot.
A: Oh, well, that is still not so much compared to what it's become. So here it is from '15 to '17. it is growing, so if at the beginning of 2015 or so. there were 25,000, 30,000, 40,000 visitors a year later in February 2016 it's 131,000 here is 125 000 well more than a hundred, and by the beginning of 2017 there is a already about 200 thousand visitors was a day
D: It took me 18 years to catch up with 100,000 a day. 18
A: 18? Well, there are now half a million a day on website.
D: That is solid.
A: Yeah.
D: this is as I understand it without investing in advertising to promote it, it's just like a snowball.
A: Yeah, well, of course the Sci-Hub also has a Facebook group, and I've been tried it for a while to promote it for a while, you know, it's just that you buy an ad and you and your group somewhere in another group and they advertise like that. It's nothing brought there that is well there will be two or two hundred people after the ad into the group, so I don't think it had no effect at all, especially moreover, he grew up mostly abroad. And this was a Russian-speaking group After that I didn't really invest any money in the promotion I didn't invest any more money. That is, it was mostly people found out about the site from their colleagues by word of mouth and the fact that he was still in early 2016 it was written about it in a major media outlet The Atlantic abroad and after that also about the site was written about in very reputable (🕰40:00) scientific journals there Science and Nature. That is I mean, the very fact that the site got there is very cool and it basically reflects the fact that the Sci-Hub has sort of become a scientific revolution like that.
D: Absolutely.
A: Yeah. I mean those scientific articles that for a very long time remained at very expensive prices, they're suddenly on the Sci-Hub. They're all available for free. There's even scientific studies came out that through the Sci-Hub has access to almost all the scientific literature now, of course I know that there's a lot of stuff that's not there, but if we're talking about exactly the popular and demanded journals they're there. And it was 2016 and then of course after these publications about him more people found out, well, in principle it's always been a bit of a mystery that so much time it took. That is, the service will appear in 2011 and for a very long time about about it despite the fact that it somehow at once very welcomed in science and despite this for a very long time in all the media, including scientific ones about him a kind of deafening silence.
D: Perhaps this is because it is a little illegal.
A: I remember that even in 2015.
D: And the citizens who use it they are afraid that maybe there's going to be some kind of liability they have with it no problem, if you download movies in Germany from a torrent you're going to get they'll come and then you'll be fined very quickly. Of course, they will warn you first.
A: There have even been some of the funniest cases where when the police knocked on the door of a nine-year-old girl or a grandmother about the fact that they downloaded something from a torrent and there was girl downloaded some cartoon.
D: Scumbag.
A: Therefore, I remember that 2015 I was reading also on some foreign newspaper about "I can hasp it pdf" tag for twitter. I mean you know what twitter is, right? So someone came up with this tag that a person, is tweeting that please help me download this article and put this tag "I can hasp it pdf" and then the other person with that tag can see and help that person send and about this in 2015 in the foreign media wrote about it and I looked at it and thought well it's still a few years ago was done at our molecular biology forum and then the Sci-Hub appeared and no one does that anymore. But there's some kind of alternative reality.
D: I mean, here they are position themselves as mega free countries and there for some reason there's nothing free circulating but the horrible totalitarian Russia for some reason everything circulates there.
A: yes. It is by the principle of legends, the same library geniuses is the largest portal also with scientific literature but specializing in books it's also kind of from Russia. Before library geniuses, there was this huge pirate library there there was about half a million books, I think it was called Gigipedia or or library in new and as I remember it the creators were in Ireland but after a lawsuit, it seems that in 2012 it was shut down. So that's it and there was a very kind of outrage there, people were outraged all over the place. It always seemed to me that how is that possible, I mean we have some kind of law that forbids, as it were people from freely reading scientific science literature. I guess that says that there's some kind of law that's wrong. But why don't we see this somehow discussed in the state the Duma both at home and abroad Why is it that this topic is somehow is hushed up.
D: looking at our Duma I always feel a severe moral suffering Why are there singers? Why are there athletes if it is a legislative body? Maybe lawyers should be elected there lawmakers, so to speak, who have special legal education or do you think that if there is a turner Vasya from or the singer Lyusya from the stage they'll somehow make the right laws. You do not understand what this is.
A: So you see, that is how it turns out.
D: So here, they do not understand, I am sure they do not understand, on all levels and they don't understand it like the fight against telegram. When they started shutting down telegram, they were hitting the bank sites that are running on amazon servers. So why don't you understand how this works.
A: Well by the way if we are talking about fighting of Telegram there was some effect there. As I remember in the State Duma they introduced a bill to block Telegram. I think there is a guy like Pasha Durov, whether you like him or not he's a mega-talent who has built something and can benefit the Russian state. Why has your Pasha Durov gone abroad? And is doing something there, why don't you keep him here, don't give him money here you don't give him a platform to expand, so to speak to his fullest potential. He is over there in America is trying this electronic money like this crypto currency. In addition, why does not he do our crypto currency in Russia? So put it in the Sayano-Shushenskaya hydroelectric power plant there's some of those mining farms mine our cryptocurrency there our cryptocurrency, we'll cover the whole globe, strangle everybody and instead of that let's ban Telegram.
A: I think it's just that Durov himself didn't wanted to because his political liberal views.
D: He is the one who works for the money I mean here's the money Pasha come here and work here. All talent should be lured back, not as they are sitting over there in Germany, Israel and America and working for the Pentagon inventing weapons to kill in our country. What is for? Bring everybody back.
A: It's considered that abroad there's freedom and we're kind of a dictatorship.
D: That is what they say. You know I used to go to this wonderful country France where there are cows running around. Norman cows in Normandy like the the cover of Pink Floyd’s band there's "atom heart mother" there was a record like that. there's a nice cow on it. I wanted to take a picture of the cow I tell my friend to take a picture of it. and he says you can't. Why not? You cannot stop here, it's the countryside. And that's why you can't let anyone drive by. and we'll get a fine. Therefore, we have been driving for two weeks and found two places where You can stop to take pictures of a cow, but the rest are prohibited, you can't go to the forest you cannot make bonfires in the lakes, no fishing, no hunting You cannot do anything. How is it that you living here? You know, ours is the most ferocious Stalinism's fiercest bastards compared to them. In terms of freedoms you couldn't even dream of freedoms we have, go wherever you want, do whatever you want. You can swim, pick mushrooms and fish and no one will say a word to you. We are distracted. We have freedom, yes.
A: Well, if you are talking specifically about the telegram, it is still telegram was promoted in the media and there even, for example, if we're talking about Russian Today there was always something written about it.
D: And how not to write, if we all We all sit there, have accounts, for example, have 69,000 subscribers on my channel. That's It's not enough, apparently.
A: Now it's like that for everyone. I mean, there used to be some maybe maybe millionaire channels at the dawn of there of the internet and at the dawn of the telegram as well and and now there are so many of them that they all have 20,000 to 100,000 subscribers and the same number of views.
D: It is still a lot. I will come in from the other side here. there used to be magazines not so long ago paper magazines, you know, 300,000 and that was a serious circulation, and I have two of these, for example, and on YouTube I have two a million subscribers no magazine could ever have that many subscribers. Well, you have to use it somehow, no.
A: Well Sci-Hub on the contrary, as opposed to Telegram or, for example, the likes of heroes of freedom of information like foreign Such as Snowden or Assange like telegram, for example popular resources well how many people use the same Snowden works directly no well his example too very strongly and powerfully promoted but and about the Sci-Hub on the contrary there is some such silence and that's in spite of the fact that in principle it's not just used by scientists, I even know that it is used in Kurchatov Institute and for example doctors. I mean most of these of scientific journals are medical journals and doctors need this information in order to, you know, understand how best to diagnose how best to treat patients.
D: it ids the most important aspect.
A: yeah, so I've even had this review about that this is a site that saves people's lives, literally. Here, I mean the important problem and even here's when in 2018 Roskomnadzor decided to ban the Sci-Huub and there was an outcry about it from Russian doctors and even then there was complete silence in the media as if as if this problem did not exist at all
D: So they're probably just not interested, though. I see skills in PR so called very little it is necessary to PR in a different way, for example, you have to grab a doctor who's doing for example a doctor who is doing scientific research here Volodya, let's sit down and tell us what you do (🕰50:00) What kind of literature do you read? Do you know English is what was said in the beginning that it is today is the language of science. You don't happen to read the notes, do you? Huh? where? really on the Sci-Hub and what benefit did you get from it what did you you read and what concrete benefit to you. If that's what you're doing. if you do that, then yes, there will be a stir.
A: So I was expecting that the media themselves would do it. the media themselves, I mean, they'd call in some doctors, some scientists. when the principle became known. I think it's a good thing. that's what the media should be doing to do that, that is to look for some people to raise Publicly important cases and so on.
D: If you do not do it yourself, no one will do it at all. They will do the crap.
A: If we're talking about that Snowden and Assange they were helped. but the Sci-Hub is the other way around.
D: This is a matter of state security but what's not clear to me personally is that it's like at the dawn of our so to speak piracy in the 90's you could go for thirty rubles to buy a DVD which has windows Photoshop 3d max and so on and so forth. When I went to the official offices to work where you want you don't want, you have to have everything officially and all of a sudden it turns out that some 3d max is where the three-dimensional models
A: Yeah, I remember that program.
D: It costs almost $4,000, and the office you need, like, three modelers sitting there. and you'd need three or twelve of them, and in those days. an apartment cost that much. In fact, Photoshop cost 800 bucks if I remember correctly but then again Here is the broadband internet Here is this Photoshop I do not know what of this Adobe you have got to get Premier or something. That is 30 bucks a month that is 35. However, you do not need everything, right? Not the whole package.
A: Yeah, you can do it on a subscription, too. It's perfectly fine, but somehow it's...
D: it's not for $4,000 at a time.
A: This has led to these monopolies. Huge monopolies that we have like apple and so on.
D: Therefore, my point is why then the masses of people could use it, develop it somehow. well okay if it's enemy articles that are paid for and our scientific don't write which are free of charge by the way and that's how it is.
A: well by the way we also have one in Russian pay journals, but it's still humanly possible to write an article for 100 rubles. Sometimes there are articles for 200 I mean, there may be some de-aspirants possible
D: That is, if it is a hub which so say, in all directions leads here there is a part free and part paid. Well, for 100 rubles, I do not know in my opinion who anyone for 100 rubles can buy the necessary professional note to read.
A: The website Sci-Hub is about collecting donations and there people themselves send 100 rubles or even more just to keep the work of the site and by the way I remember it now donates no one can be surprised I mean, nowadays anyone collects donations YouTube, and even children, and then it was 2013 year and that's when the Sci-Hub started collecting donates directly from their site and for a few thousand dollars maybe for a few days. I mean, it was so cool.
D: I remember the first time I recorded a greeting for the first time. And they gave me a thousand dollars for an hour and I realized that I was doing something wrong. I was doing something wrong.
A: Was it on YouTube?
D: No, it was a long time ago. Probably seven or eight years ago. It is a completely different area of funding is completely different. but nobody's surprised by donations these days. Well you cannot, but the entire enemy's books don't intelligently tell you that if you're you're out there doing some I don't know play the guitar, carve matryoshka dolls. whatever if you can find a thousand people who will give you ready to create looking at your so-called so called creativity or whatever it is you you're doing they're willing to give you ten bucks a a month. That's not much, how much is 600 rubles 500. Yes, that's if a thousand people, then all your problems in life are solved. you're doing, and that's all you'll be able to do. You'll be able to live comfortably and these people sponsor you, so to speak. your activities for their own enjoyment and pleasure and all that. Why not?
A: of course that's why in principle paid content you don't need it
D: well maybe it's like a university I can buy something myself, put it and you use no?
A: Well buying and and put it out in the public domain, . also a violation yes .
D: But so if it's our if it's there are so many visitors and such how many there are half a million visitors to the site well probably science must be something it is interesting that here is such a resource, no?
A: I actually have many reviews. I mean, I recently published a page from my email in 2020 website and after that I received several thousand e-mails from all over the world there. From Europe, from the UK, from Switzerland, the United States, and of course China from Iran and a lot of them from Latin America there is Brazil, Mexico from Africa. They are also using the Sci-Hub there. and all have written a huge thanks for this resource I have a few thousand e-mails are stored and I'm thinking of asking more users more about their work and maybe write some of those stories of using the resource on the site to write well really the Sci-Hub it's become quite such a big event in general in the world science.
D: without any exaggeration.
A: it seems to me that at that time Russia could somehow make such a political step that is to legalize in basically legalize the work of this resource well as it for example a lot of Russian scientists use it and it would be it seems to me that it would be a very big deal even if we're talking about some kind of competition with the United states it would be a very big ideological blow to the Western I mean, how come all of a sudden?
D: What happened instead?
A: well instead it turns out that for some reason was basically silenced somehow. the discussion of this project in the media.
D: Well, how can it be silenced if you do not? If you do not speak, no one will pay attention to you. Excuse my immodesty I can I can give you an example of myself, if I translate a movie I sometimes translate movies. at least ten times as many people watch it usually even more. If you think that there is a giant line of employers with shouting Dmitry Yurichev translate please translate us a movie nothing of the sort. You have to run through about ten concrete walls with your head, make an inhuman effort to make friends with everyone, and then maybe, I mean. maybe you'll become someone's interesting. If you don't have that direct human interaction when you're with these specific people that you depend on all sorts of things you communicate with them and you show them something, you're doing them some benefit to them, which is quite obvious to them. To begin with, you explain to them what you're doing a serious benefit, then yes, maybe. But for someone to come and interested in you and start to promote, which is exactly the promotion no media mentions and stuff like that doesn't happen.
A: Why not? After the The website hub was written about in the media after that, I got a lot of letters from various western journalists who were interested in the topic and what this project is all about. I mean, the the project basically became known to a wider audience and because it's a pretty important topic regularly talks about some kind of new discoveries of science, even the most trivial ones.
D: Sorry to interrupt. I can see two things at once there are people who take advantage of this are Westerners especially the Americans and the British and the French and others. They clearly understand that they're doing something wrong and they're they're breaking the law and that's why they won't they won't talk about it. They will not talk about it at all. They will use it and they will not talk about it. and then when it gets to us for sure there are some I do not know but I am pretty sure there are some interstate agreements signed there. and stuff like that where this has to be to stop on the territory of the Russian federation and Roskomnadzor according to in accordance with that, it stops it like that.
A: If we're talking about the users themselves, in principle, the project has a lot of feedback in addition to personal reviews in the letters that is, if you go to the same twitter and and write the Sci-Hub you can see how many scientists use the Sci-Hub and praise it. The Sci-Hub also has groups in social networks for example, VKontakte where there are also reviews are already from Russian scientists and even about the smallest scientific discoveries all the same publishes. And here you get such a big event that the top scientific journals there's like actually a revolution in science and quite important topics if we're talking specifically about access to medical information (🕰60:00) and for some reason it's somehow been that's been neglected in a very strange way.
D: Again, sorry to interrupt, I would just insist that there's more to this the apostle Jesus Christ said if I remember correctly go to the doctor and cure because the cured believe the doctor. Unequivocally he would immediately accept Christianity and start preaching the same the same thing here should have been or now is. for example, focus on doctors and this so to speak, the mainstream that we're not here to play around, we're here to save people's lives. Bring a doctor and let us sit down and talk, Here is a doctor. How do you use it? How do you use it? and how it's helped you and how it's helped you save lives. and then it should all come from the medicine to spread the width of it if you don't do it that nobody does anything.
A: I mean, I have even, taken testimonials from some doctors and just recently sent them out there to various journalists and I think even in the new newspaper there a sign from a friend of mine said that a lot of newspapers could publish it, but they won't because I am a Stalinist.
D: It is important here totalitarianism
A: yes and so at first the journalist interested and then answered that the the editorial board turned the topic down and so on it happened with some media outlets, so it's like first the journalist is interested and then they say that the editorial board refused to print the story and it was the same with Rasha today. I mean, I was told that the story was turned down at the top.
D: Maybe they were joking. Do not particularly believe people.
A: Maybe.
D: The other side of the whole There is YouTube, for example. There’s people who are interested in it there's the scientific community they all have social networking almost everybody has it. if you make your own video to appeal to people insofar as they're firmly aware that they're all about a lot of, so to speak, professional achievements, for example, they owe personally you are the one who built the resource that they use and benefit from. benefit from it and now help me shout a little louder. No, I mean help. It is not at all certain that it has the same result as a broadcast on on channel one of Russian television. But it does have the effect that you can do personally
A: Yeah of course I don't sit like that I'm promoting this project on social media and by the way here in twitter that you've seen there individual tweets from the Sci-Hub they're getting like a million hits.
D: my respect, yes.
A: And then quite recently. there was a lawsuit situation against the website in in India, I mean on or about December 21st I received from the Indian court saying that we were being sued in India and that and they're demanding that we block absolutely all the addresses of the Sci-Hub, I mean, like. if Roskomnadzor blocks some address then you can put another address and and in India there the publishers demanded a dynamic blocking that is to say that absolutely any new address is blocked So I posted this bad news on Twitter just to share that soon to be banned in India and I didn't expect the effect it had. I mean there was a real explosion there.
D: A packet of yeast fell in India.
A: It's just that a lot of, like. of Indian scientists there started to get outraged. writing articles In the media on twitter too, that if you shut down the Sci-Hub. How are we ever going to do science, it's like we don't have paid access and we don't have that much money and there's some scientific communities in India have sent a request to the court that the Sci-Hub not to be blocked. So after that, I was contacted by lawyers who offered to defend the the Sci-Hub in an Indian court and that's all this happened after one little Tweet and sometime later I think it was January 6. well, after all of these events, the tweet of Sci-Hub was blocked.
D: Strange that it lasted so long.
A: It's kind of been around since 2012 it seems like a lot of years and without any problems. I do remember there was one situation when the account was frozen and required to upload a passport scan well what is there really me some a real person but after I did it and there were no problems And now, all of a sudden, he was banned and tweeted. no explanation as to why explanation why The website hub was blocked well that is technically of course the reason there's some kind of content there which supposedly violates how the for several years it was and what exactly happened it's just now that there's twitter noticed all of a sudden decided to block it.
D: maybe a letter went out to law enforcement authorities.
A: Yes exactly which one, that is, they did not give about that explanation.
D: two months ago. my Facebook account got shut down and disappeared. They sent me a type of send an ID. I took a picture of my driver's license and sent a reply. I got a sign saying sorry, we have a Covids epidemic here. we can not quickly and here they are for the third month already looking.
A: And you too bloced?
D: Yeah, without any explanation.
A: I read that for example, Russian media pages blocked there, they blocked satellite, but then they apologized and unblocked it. But no one is going to apologize to the Sci-Hub.
D: It's not helpful if they're banning Trump legally elected president is being banned, it's nonsense to talk about some commoner out there.
A: This is exactly when it happened about January 6th and after that there was an article on a torrent frig but there's a site that covers all sorts of piracy news and yeah about the twitter banned and there people started in the outrage in the comments. Oh, that is kind of useful resource got banned and it's Tramp who's on there all sorts of tweets like that. and soon after that they banned Tramp. Maybe they somehow listened to people's opinions.
D: They put Donald in.
A: but I know the principle there it was not just tramp that got banned a bunch of people. in that timeframe.
D: at this point in time, what's the status state the project is in.
A: well at the moment it's in a state of stability, I mean. I mean it's reached about 500,000 users a day or so. the number fluctuates and that's it. little by little. By the way, it was recently banned in in the UK literally maybe a month ago.
D: To protect the British scientists from this outrage after all.
A: yeah and it's kind of like they've even had the police issue some kind of a warning not to students to use this site and there's a lot of British scientists laughed about it on Twitter, you know I mean, it is kind of like access to science suddenly banned by the government.
A: it is not an easy situation. So we have everything works, people come in and use it
A: yeah it is like in 2018 he was banned by Roskomnadzor, the site continues to be available just at another address So that's the situation so far, but I in principle I want to the site completely legalized that is that is to say that it's legal to read scientific literature even for free is legal.
D: I'm afraid that this is in conflict with the laws of of other states who think it's worth money if it's in any magazines.
A: right that is why it can only be done by an independent state and what kind of independent state there is on the planet right now? Russia.
D: I would start again with medicine. I'm talking about how lives are being saved people and how it benefits the scientific community, one, to society as a whole, two. medicine is progressing because of the fact that scientists are able to freely to share knowledge and discoveries and other techniques on how to treat here how to treat there.
A: It's all on your own, after all. it's still hard and it requires not only time but also financial resources And if it were done by a media outlet, of course. of course it would be much easier.
D: No one is going to do it, they will not do anything. The drowning men are the drowning men's business no god or tsar can save us or a hero on our own there's no other way I would recommend starting with medicine. is the right one, that's it bashing through the wall with your head and then, well. friends, the very last one will be nuclear physics where atomic bombs are made but that's understandably strategic the state security areas and so on. But here friends, let's work together to save children in Africa, for example to cure them we do not have to, because you are paying 30 Note that is a great idea with medicine should be started to do There's no other way to do it on your own. Alexandra, but you see how many years and no one's moved. How is it going on your own?
A: What?
D: Overall.
A: I am now [sounds] recently, if you put it that way formally in 2019 finished my master's degree St. Petersburg State University and just in time for the Covid entered graduate school at the Institute of the (🕰70:00) Philosophy of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow
D: Seriously?
A: Yes, I had basically, I had this idea to, like scientifically prove within the framework of the philosophy of science that science, in principle, is inherently should be open and only an open of science it functions successfully. Well some such an idea
D: and how long do you have to study?
A: Now I am finishing first year and so we have a post-graduate school now three years.
D: Really?
A: Yeah.
D: Alexandra not only know how to build websites. What can I to say in conclusion draw a line well do not want to do it yourself in any way otherwise. I can provide practical help with the publication of videos, with some specialists come by themselves and do you have Russian citizenship?
A: I have Kazakh citizenship.
D: How interesting Soviet man.
A: Yes, the Soviet Union you can count.
D: And to move here no plans
A: Well, I've been living in Russia since 2011.
D: Living and being a citizen are different.
A: yes I came in 2011 and I did not go anywhere else, that is, if you do not take into account that there for a couple of days I went home to Kazakhstan and then I went back, and then in 2012 there was a short trip to France with my mom and after that all that time I kind of studied at different master's programs and in 2015 I tried to apply for Russian citizenship as a native of the Russian language that is, in my opinion, at that time this law was introduced only it was introduced that if a person has relatives there who were born on the territory of the Russian Federation that is, ancestors or rather grandparents and a person is a native speaker of the Russian language, that is, the Russian language Native then he can apply for citizenship and get citizenship there in a simplified and I wanted to to take advantage of that opportunity. I also filed the documents and I rather got birth certificate, birth certificates, you know, my grandmother she was born I think in the village of Zaozerne near Krasnoyarsk and my mother was born in Krasnoyarsk and then my older my mom's sister, she went back in the soviet government at the aviation institute in Riga and after graduation she was she was transferred to Kazakhstan and after that the whole family also moved to Kazakhstan you're basically in Almaty there much warmer fruits and vegetables are quite interesting. But of course after the collapse of the Soviet Union. we all stayed in Kazakhstan. So I applied and I went to take the Russian language exam.
D: Is that necessary
A: Yes, to prove that you're a native speaker.
D: But speaking is not enough and you have to take the exam? What are the subjects and the predicate or what?
A: Anyway, the exam was, like I think we were shown some kind of film about the Crimea and the sound was really bad I mean, in my my family kind of spoke only Russian everything and there was no other language and there was this sound that basically it was even hard to perceive this the movie something about Crimea and then you had to fill in the answers to the questions about Crimea. And the questions on the movie are kind of what I remember there was talk about such a place as darkness of the cockroach. It turns out that it is in fact it It's spelled “tmu tarakan” Well I think in Russian colloquially it's all called darkness. It is something like that and after you fill out this test after then you sit down for, like, a job interview they ask you why you have Russian citizenship. I had a woman ask me that she seemed unfriendly. Why do you need citizenship?
D: Really
A: But saying well with Citizenship it is somehow more convenient to live I live in Russia anyway why do I really need citizenship if you think about it and well just citizenship gives a person a person more rights and if now I need any reason to stay in Russia that is I have to either study or work somewhere then after I get the passport you can just live. That is I was confused then, too, and I just I couldn't find an answer and then after that exams and interviews I get a paper that it turns out Russian is not my native language.
D: That is what the experts determined, yes. Moreover, you can come at it from the other side I have Jewish friends in the 90's who want to to the Netherlands and migrate from russia what do? Well, the best way to go anti-semitism ran to the garages on one garage painted a huge Swastika my friend Dima stood near Swastika he was photographed with this this photo, I can't live in such a place. Dutch citizenship immediately put.
A: As a political asylum yes?
D: yes, maybe you should do the same. Perfect. I'm kind of lost, even for me personally of course not as expert as the migration service but I do not hear in your speech that you lived in Kazakhstan I do not hear the typical Central Asian stuff I do not hear.
A: But there is a specific Central Asian accent.
D: well, I do not hear but still, even if it is there so what in general the interview, it's not about watching your idiotic movies with audio interference and answering some stupid questions. Oh, man. That is a good one. Yeah, but will you find out motherland. That is great
A: And then there was also it said that I was supposedly making some mistakes but that can't be true.
D: So upper division education and everything and everything that comes with a master's degree doesn't count, right?
A: But at the time, I hadn't finished a master's degree.
D: Does not matter if you have a degree it doesn't, does it? Here's the the guys who do the foundations in the wheelbarrows carry earth, they're good for Russian citizenship and highly educated specialists don't, interesting. It seems to me that it's like the united states that's how sucking in a vortex of people from all over the world and we'll choose who to let in a good education, a degree, some jobs come on in and you all goodbye. Great The mother country welcomes you.
A: They say to me maybe they looked on the Internet what you're doing and decided not to give you citizenship.
D: I'm afraid no one there that deep, I'm afraid. At the time. I was kind of offended at the time, you know it's like you've been speaking Russian since from birth and then all of a sudden they tell you no Russian is not your native language.
D: Great.
A: You are making some mistakes in your writing. It is can't possibly be true because I know that I always write everything correctly and then you made me look grammatically illiterate and the main thing I wrote a story about it in my blog and after that look at Wikipedia appeared about me such a line that here I am well, like such a fool could not could not pass the Russian language exam. You can interpret it that way. That is how it was twisted.
D: You cannot give up. Then, of course, you can try again.
A: And in the meantime, they signed the law that you have to take an oath of allegiance citizenship you have to take an oath and in particular there seems to be a line in the oath line that you will comply the law, I thought how come I'm in charge of the Sci-Hub and I don't really care if this project is legal or not. I think it is the right one.
D: There's no I'm not going to give you any advice. How did the girl get the idea to do programming?
A: Well, it is really quite simple my mother worked as a programmer I mean, she is the same as her older sister she studied for a while at Riga University in the specialty I think it was then called system engineer and they worked with these big electronic computers machines whose programs were written on punched cards and then when personal computers started to appear she worked as an accountant for a while and then I switched to programming for 1S accounting like that. Therefore, I remember from childhood when I was about six a computer at home but I really at first at first I just played with it somewhere else maybe about six years later I remember that my mom would take me to work and there was the internet and I was looking on the internet instructions on how to create my own website and tried something. I remember back then created a little website that was dedicated to different electronic animals. I mean there was this popular tamagotchi thing, you know (🕰80:00) electronic toy you have living inside of you some kind of an animal that you had to feed it and raise it and so on and so on. besides tamagotchi there were programs like that for the computer, so you start it up and your computer starts to live a cat for example walks around the screen there eats it too you can pet it in its sleep and play club and so on and so on and so on there were robot dogs like that at the time that were called ab and they were produced a company called Sony I mean a real robotic dog and I think it even had some neural networks inside it and so I was I thought that I was trying to program a Tamagoshi like that with artificial intelligence, you know, so that he could just eat but also talk and think and so on and so on and so on I basically then I got interested in neural networks and neurobiology but all sorts of things like that. I had a period of fascination with hacking, I mean there was a magazine that was also popular at the time when maybe I was about 14 years old.
D: I was an outstanding author there.
A: By the way. There were all sorts of hacking notes and how to hack. I I remember what I did with the help of of reading an article like that in hacker magazine. to hack into my Internet service provider.
D: You're a dangerous man, Alexandra.
A: I was talking about that technology at the time I do not know anything at all at that time. a few years later we went through them at the university for a very long and painful time but at that time I already knew all this stuff. I knew all that stuff. Moreover, after that, I went to entered the university Kazakh National Technical University. I remember that many of the guys there from my I remember a lot of the guys in my class, they went to Russian universities, and I didn't really I didn't really understand why I had to go somewhere. I just went to my own university. I continued studying there as well. I chose and for hacking specialization information safety well and So I graduated from university after that. I remember that for a while I applied for a PhD program in neuroscience somewhere in the US in order to develop my childhood hobby, you know. neurointerface, neurochips and stuff like that. But it didn't work out at the time and then I for a while I was taking orders on the internet to develop different software I worked as a freelancer and that is how and it turned out to be in programming. I still remember that when I was at the university I think I was almost the best programmer in the group. was also in school I mean I somehow from childhood got used to the fact that I'm such a computer genius you know, the kind of person who understands about computers.
D: So what was the fruit of all this training?
A: I think the most notable fruit was the creation of the Sci-Hub
D: It's a heavy fruit, you can't argue with that. when you came here, how did it all start?
A: I remember that just working I didn't want to be a programmer, I mean, I wanted something like that. Well, as far as the Sci-Hub thing, of course I like it because it's such a, you know, a job. that you're doing something to liberate of scientific knowledge and so on. Nevertheless, just like programming any kind of random tasks I've always been not very interesting to me and for example in the accounting department that my mother worked in was something I thought was the most unpleasant thing that I thought you could do.
D: It's kind of boring.
A: Economics and, yeah, that kind of thing.
D: how does freelancing in general work out all the time or did you try to get a job somewhere? trying to get a job?
A: Yeah, I remember when I came to 2011 in Russia, I was still working as a freelancer, I mean, I took orders and I did them and so I got a few tens of thousands rubles a month that's how it was and then I already decided something well, to go somewhere longer and I applied the documents to the faculty of state management of the Higher School of Economics it it was 2012.
D: And?
A: Well, at that time there was this theme all over the place about the use of information technologies in the state about the Internet the modernization of Skolkovo, that's all that that's all Medvedev was promoting. I thought wow.
D: He was pushing the right things, by the way. State services and stuff like that, thanks to him. they say it is a great thing
A: Yeah, so what was cool about it that you get that kind of information technology at some global level and I had this idea back then the idea that I could somehow change the system from the inside I mean if now for example we're not allowed by law to freely the free flow of information on the internet if, for example, the law forbids the free exchange of information on the internet. the states in that direction to tweak it, I mean something to fix something and yes, I've applied there I got there and it turned out to be the opposite that is, you apply to the department of public administration and expect that that everything there will basically be so patriotic state, and then for some reason it was the opposite.
D: what do you mean, there can't be a state.
A: Well, what about the faculty of government and I'd expect it to be all about patriotism
D: It's like that Vysotsky song where the devil cursed and said there's the wrong comrade rules the ball.
A: it turns out that the teacher had some liberal rhetoric and they kind of disliked me a lot right off the bat. that is, they started picking on me, underestimating grades and so on.
D: Is it because of political views, right? Yeah. It is dangerous to talk to with faculty members on political issues Do you need that in your life, too? They are not certainly can't reeducate them, but they can screw with you, they can.
A: But I remember back then the situation I had a situation that my teacher gave me zero points and I could have not be allowed to take the exam something like that was, and I remember that as a result of conflict I ended up getting access to the email account of that teacher's email account but I didn't hack into it, but I was able to access it and I saw that the teacher writes about me that I'm such a vile scum and that I should be killed. and the best part is that I'm crazy. Something like that was written. It was a shock for me at all it was a shock to read it, I mean, I actually I was expecting that it's professor and that there would be some such serious high topics and it turns out that they're discussing that I'm bastard
D: Well, first of all he's a human being and everything else secondary Moreover, how did it end? Did it end or not?
A: Well, I printed out this correspondence and gave it to the assistant provost.
D: Great.
A: Well, I ended up taking the course passed and I even got an "A" on my exam. But I didn't want to graduate master's program, I still didn't do it. and I only finished one course and then I started looking for a job as a programmer, I just kind of realized it became clear to me that, first of all, this education won't be much use I mean I'm not going anywhere after I've finished this master's degree I won't be made minister or president so that I could change something first of all, but secondly, for what scientific reasons I'm still interested in somehow the history of ancient societies that is how once upon a time people understood that that kind of information. And I realized that such studies of him here at the faculty of public government most likely all the same I will not give me to defend myself, that is, to get a diploma, that's why and after the first year I started looking to look for a job as a programmer. That was the situation and I remember that I was trying to get a job at Russia Today. I mean, I did not like it then.
D: Programmer?
A: Yeah, well I liked it at the time basically such a patriotic company. It's all about Russia and stuff like that and I even had an interview and the programmer who was there he had this idea for me to develop software just for video I just think that then it happened that for some reason I was offered me a very small salary. I think it was 30,000 rubles, but on that kind of money in Moscow to live very it is hard to live like that. It did not work out and I just I think that here is a job which is on video processing program it could, in principle, in the long run there in a few years it could grow into some (🕰90:00) maybe a Russian version of YouTube quite
D: It is not easy.
A: Why?
D: I do not know well first of all money to you secondly you cannot solve this alone this you need to create a team for this it's hard. There is Rutube, we do not have the dumbest programmers can see but for some reason, we can't build a YouTube counterpart They have not been able to build a YouTube analog for years.
A: Well, we have one Rutube and there need to be more Let it blossom 100 Flowers and so on
D: how will they make money? It is clear what they make money from.
A: We've recently had information published that the same Rasha today journalists get paid half a million rubles each half a million rubles and I think you can imagine how much social networking could be created with this money.
D: Maybe they are good if half a million rubles.
A: well and the programmers offer 30,000 life is not fair.
D: I'll give you the most famous wisdom he invented the ruble built 10 sold 100 is the most important in a capitalist society it is always the one who sells, not the one the one who invents and not the one who makes like this
A: Well, the leaders of Rasha today are always resenting why we don't have we don't have our own social media why do we have some foreign social networks which block Russian channels and by the way it's about YouTube and the the history of its emergence it sort of first it grew, I think, as part of PayPal and only then did it split off and become an independent social network.
D: We have a social networking site, which was built by by the same Pasha Durov.
A: Yeah and it's kind of like the main social network is YouTube
D: Well if we have the USA, we have this projection of heaven on earth if everything is so beautifully done and beautified there if we're part of the family of civilized where there's a division of labor it's normal in capitalism. here's a great YouTube we're going to use it and then it turns out that they won't let you use it and you so that's being a statesman you didn't think that one day you're going to get the breaker pulled and leave you without it. You did not think so, did you? That is how you design the life of the country inside it might as well be like saying that American submarines are protecting us to protect us, they keep the world at peace for Why the hell would you build your own if the Americans have such wonderful boats with nuclear weapons. Why do you need your own? and here why do you need this YouTube if it's there Then some time goes by and all of a sudden here it is in big letters all of a sudden it turns out that your idiot TV no one else watches it especially the young people who, so to speak the future leaders of the country owners and all that stuff and all of a sudden it turns out that they're educated by American YouTube even at the dumbest level just recently you go into a bookstore there wasn't even a comic book section and now you go into a bookstore and there's shelves and separate and all the comics are for some reason American, you know, they are American and a little bit of Japanese, that's all. And yours where one would like to ask.
A: I remember when I was a kid, there was a comic strip called Murzilka.
D: I have a question about your children, I mean. your children are being raised by strangers with completely foreign ideals that you nothing and nothing at all and here you have YouTube is the same thing. It is TV. The internet is just a way of delivering information but it's the same TV why so it turns out that you're here you give money to, for example, the TV, the RTR is fine all the grandmas are there for New Year's Alla Borisovna Sofia Rotaru, who with one hand gives money to kill Russians and then on Russian TV performs beautifully. it is wonderful simply Well, no one is watching this, no one what Your ratings are so high I lose my mind. Money being poured into it and they start screaming that YouTube is all against us and they're already screaming on our side that it needs to be shut down. The Americans do not have time to pull the switch it's already our weapon. It needs to be shut down. It's a a threat to national security and Where is yours?
A: Our social networks they could be grown within the the company within the framework of the same RT if some money was just would go to well I honestly don't know I have no idea what you could spend half a million rubles a month.
D: You just don't have it. That is why you have no idea. For example, you could buy yourself a Rolls-Royce, for example that's going to eat up all your money just everything Build yourself a house and hire a house cleaner and that too will eat it all up and it won't be enough all the time because the main goal of capitalism is to continually increase your level of for example to go to an expensive restaurant or and to everyone to show that I go to an expensive restaurant expensive holiday not somewhere in the Crimea Maldives only this status is the level and other stuff. Half a million is easy to spend believe me.
A: If you part of the money if you put it there as a programmer at least like this I would have gotten the job.
D: I agree.
A: Could be social networking.
D: I will act as HR here Alexandra is a talented programmer by the way. built I don't even know what to call it the right way to build Sci-Hub on that gets 500,000 hits contact me daily, I'm open to a suggestion, and in passing the show mentions about communism and communist What is your point, are you a communist?
A: well I have always considered myself a communist. But I'm not a professional communist I mean, if, for example. for example, if I were to go into a debate of course with some politician on political about who I don't know of course I would lose any debate. the idea of communism I've always supported I've always thought that the Sci-Hub as a communist project because first of all it's a project which is for that knowledge belongs to the people so that it's available to everyone and not just some elite. It's basically a project that is against the very concept of of this intellectual property that is scientific knowledge it should not be as if it were the intellectual property of some corporations but it it should belong to the people. I opened a Sci- Hub group on a social networking site I naturally started to post there different posts on the theme of communism on the theme of science.
D: Well that is practically putting a stigma on yourself because we're free and entitled to all points of view any political views you can't go anywhere going to go in with communist views.
A: Why is that?
D: Well our state is built on a denial of everything communist.
A: Therefore, I wondered if that is the problem that maybe that's why the Sci-Hub is under such a censorship regime.
D: I do not know from my point of view. first of all, there's nowhere to go as one not the silliest person said the soviet union is our ancient roman it's the basis on which everything is built and there's nowhere to go you can't get away from it. The only thing that still binds us together idea is the victory of the great patriotic war won by communists over Nazis You cannot get away from that, but you have to build one's own and it's very strange to get hung up on from my point of view is very strange. I would understand if I were, for example, the editor of a state-funded television channel with the money that shows some Zuleikha opens her eyes and all of a sudden you with communist views to be called to broadcast to hundreds of millions of people it would be strange from the point of view of from a propaganda point of view as a specialist what does that have to do with anything if I can do this and you don't know how to do it then maybe let me do something this is a very strange approach of capitalists It should not be like that.
A: Well, I had some thought that maybe they were afraid of of Communism
D: as one aspect of maybe but that's about as close as I can see to Russian you don't speak your native language. That is great.
A: There is something strange going on.
D: Do not get hung up on it. My advice to you is to do it all yourself No one is going to give us that You have to do everything yourself. no one's going to come up with anything nothing will come and no one will offer anything it's it's not a fairy tale about a master and a margarita themselves come and offer everything not come and offer only yourself. Nevertheless cool Alexandra my respect what a to build and to make it so crazy come and see us again we will help you in any way we can Thank you.
A: Thank you.
D: That is all for today.

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