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How Not to Network a NationThe Uneasy History of the Soviet Internet$
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Benjamin Peters

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780262034180

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262034180.001.0001

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(p.1) Introduction
How Not to Network a Nation

Benjamin Peters

The MIT Press

There is much which we must leave, whether we like it or not, to the un-“scientific” narrative method of the professional historian.

—Norbert Wiener, Cybernetics, or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine, 1948, concluding line

The Soviet Union was home to hidden networks. The story told here about those networks hangs on a hook that is unfamiliar to most readers and scholars—the Soviet Internet. At first glance, pairing the Internet and the Soviet Union appears paradoxical. The Internet first developed in America and became popular only after the Soviet Union collapsed. The Internet suggests to general readers open networks, flat structures, and collaborative cultures, and the Soviet Union signals censored networks, hierarchies, and command and control cultures. What, then, could the phrase ...

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