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News > Russia

'Sovereign Internet': Russia Prepares to Unplug Itself From US-Based Internet

  • The Russian coat of arms is reflected in a laptop screen in this picture illustration.

    The Russian coat of arms is reflected in a laptop screen in this picture illustration. | Photo: Reuters

Published 18 April 2019

The Russian Parliament passed a law to develop a web infrastructure not vulnerable to cyber attacks from abroad.

Russia's Lower Chamber of the Parliament has approved a bill to ensure the safe operation of the Internet in case a threat arises from abroad.


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The country's plan is to create a "monitoring and control center" which will ensure the availability of communication services and coordinate service providers in any extraordinary situation.

Through this law, Russia does not plan to isolate its network segment from the rest of the world but to defend itself from new challenges and risks.

She underlined that concerns should be raised about the possibility of Russia being cut off from digital technologies and the Internet rather than the law. "Russia by no means wants to shut off or isolate itself from the rest of the world. This is pointless and impossible," Valentina Matviyenko, the Senate Chairwoman, said, adding that Russia can’t rule out external cybersecurity threats. 

"We need to further clarify the main stipulations of this law, explain to our citizens, society and all those concerned, including the mass media, that this law will not lead to Russia's isolation."

If the bill is approved by both the Senate and President Vladimir Putin, the new legislation will go into effect in November.

Since the United States can hinder Internet access from other countries, Russia will also create its own root server infrastructure.

"The law means not only creating Russia's own web infrastructure but also making its own hardware," Andrei Svintsov, a congressman told Sputnik and commented that his country will invest in the development of "a sovereign Internet."

Guerman Klimenko, the LiveInternet founder and President Putin's former adviser, explained the Russian approach is different from China's Golden Shield Project, which is a great firewall that allows Chinese authorities to exercise firm control over the Internet in their territory.

"Unlike most countries, China uses 'pre-moderation,' which is why it is not possible to launch anything on the Internet without having received a permit," Klimenko said and added that Russia's control is based on 'post-moderation,'  which means that authorities can block a website "only if it has already violated a law."

Regarding fears that the Russian infrastructure may block Google, YouTube or Facebook, he commented that such blocking is possible even without any new law.

"If someone really wanted to impose such blockade, they would have done it already," Klimenko said and asked, "why would someone think of doing it now?"​​​​​​​

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