The Kremlin is Taking Unprecedented Measures to Control Online Content

DESPARDES News Monitor – A recent analysis/opinion piece in Carnegie Moscow Center captioned Russia’s changing internet rules with “Russia’s Sovereign Internet Law Will Kill Innovation”.

The Kremlin’s domestic policy bloc increasingly tries to run Russia as a corporation. It’s not surprising, therefore, that they have resorted to typical corporate methods in the field of Internet control, electing to use deep packet inspection (DPI) technology, which is not employed at a national level anywhere else in the world, the opinion piece said.

The Russian authorities have embarked on unprecedented measures to control Internet content. Under what has become known as the sovereign Internet law passed by the State Duma on April 16, Internet providers will be obliged to install devices to filter traffic, and the state communications watchdog Roskomnadzor will get unparalleled powers, including an official “off switch” to deploy as it sees fit.

The official reason given for introducing such drastic measures is the preponderance of illegal content on the Internet, and the purported intentions of Russia’s enemies to cut the country off from the Internet. But in all likelihood, the law is driven by growing discontent in Russian society, and the authorities’ falling ratings. On the horizon is a series of elections for regional governors and the State Duma, and, after all, 2024—the end of Putin’s presidential term—is closer than it seems. It will be far easier to overcome these challenges if Internet content is under control.

Since March 2017, the authorities have repeatedly been taken off guard, first by mass protests organized by anti-corruption campaigner Alexei Navalny and then by ecological protests against landfill sites. Both the political and ecological protests took place across many Russian regions. Discontent was also expressed via protest voting at the gubernatorial and mayoral elections in fall 2018, when candidates backed by the authorities lost to spoiler candidates in several regions.

For the Kremlin, this is a serious problem. Read all of it here…