Russia's plans for its own Internet

To protect the country from external attacks the Russian leadership wants to isolate it digitally. A corresponding law providing for Internet traffic to be cut off from foreign servers in the event of a threat was passed in the first reading in the Duma. Thousands took to the streets to demonstrate against the move on the weekend. Is this the end of Internet freedom in Russia?

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Radio Kommersant FM (RU) /

Pros at blocking and banning

The people are rightly concerned about the fate of the free Internet, Radio Kommersant FM believes:

“You can repeat as often as you like that 10,000 [protesters] do not represent all of Russia. Nevertheless the topic of blocking the free Internet in our country is a concern to society and above all to the younger generation. The 'Great Chinese Firewall' is not a pleasant prospect. ... And even if we assume that the state authorities are against censorship and uncoupling Russia from the worldwide web: the problem is that hardly any of our current leaders understand how we can technically protect ourselves from the Americans while at the same time guaranteeing a free Internet. But what they have learned is how to ban content and build walls. For that reason there is more than enough cause for concern.”

Echo of Moscow (RU) /

A non-existent threat

The threat scenario that serves as a justification for the law is absurd, Echo of Moscow writes:

“So far not a single case has come to light in which someone tried to put an entire country offline. And even if someone wanted to, it's impossible in practice. Because there's no button that Uncle Sam - or Donald Trump or Tim Apple - could press to switch off the light in Russia or elsewhere. People are trying to protect us from a threat that doesn't exist. According to the same logic we'd better shut off the gas and water in our homes before Nato agents do it for us. Or stop eating before we're poisoned by enemy spies.”