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Russia moves closer to its own Internet system

Many users Twitter in Russia discovered that they could not access the social network on March 4, after days of Russian media regulator Roskomnadzor restricting access to Twitter.

The fact that Twitter is blocked in Russia shows the seriousness of the Government of this country in the process of moving towards “splInternet” – the fact that the global Internet is divided into many parts depending on the country and region. Russia wants to separate its Internet system from the rest of the world.

The “gold standard” of this private Internet is now China. With the system of “Great Firewall” or “Great Firewall” combining the legal framework, the state control mechanism and the strongly developed domestic Internet ecosystem, the Internet in China exist in a state of relative independence from the rest of the world.

However, it is not easy for Russia to learn from China’s way of separating domestic and foreign Internet. In addition to the problem of technological manpower, adding external boundaries and blocking access from the inside will be more difficult for the relatively open Internet infrastructure in Russia.

Roskomnadzor may require its Internet service provider (ISP) to block content, deny access requests, or redirect traffic from websites it deems inappropriate in Russia. However, Russia has more than 3000 ISPs and each ISP has a different method to comply with Roskomnadzor’s request. The difference in methods means that users also have more ways to bypass the block.

Some experts like Alena Epifanova from the non-profit organization DGAP also believe that the problem comes from the fact that Russia’s Internet infrastructure is built and operated by many foreign companies. Aware of this, the Russian government is working to build its national technological capacity.

Russia moves closer to its own Internet system - Photo 2.

Twitter has been blocked in Russia since March 4, 2022, according to monitoring network Netblocks. Source: Netblocks.

In 2015, Russia’s national security strategy included provisions for “rational export substitution” – the process of replacing foreign technological equipment with domestic products. The move is designed to mitigate the impact of Western economic sanctions. In May 2019, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a law to ensure stable Internet operation in Russia in case of disconnection from the rest of the world Internet.

On December 24, 2019, Russia announced that it had successfully tested disconnecting the Internet in Russia from the world Internet. The effectiveness of this trial result was later disputed.

In March 2021, Roskomnadzor announced to restrict access to Twitter in Russia due to malicious content. The method used, called TSPU, monitors Internet traffic and looks for URLs included in the block list, and then stops all packets that request access to this URL. However, the method used by Russia has its own problems: by blocking access to the shortened URL used by Twitter, Russia also blocks many websites containing “” such as Reddit (reddit). .com) and the Microsoft homepage (

Since this block, Roskomnadzor has made much progress in blocking Twitter in particular and splitting the Internet in general – a move that alarmed many Internet freedom activists. They argue that Russia is moving from its former decentralized mode of censorship to a more centralized system like China, with greater efficiency and wider coverage.

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