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FSB Blocks Website

22 February 2012


The FSB’s Information Centre issued a formal request that domain registrar REG.RU terminate assignment of the domain name, owned by Dmitry Karuev, a civic activist and member of The Other Russia.

Dmitry Karuev himself informed Agora Human Rights Association of the steps taken by the FSB. At present there is no access to the website. A manager from REG.RU, who gave her name as Veronika, told Agora that they received the request from the FSB Information Centre on 20 February 2012, and the same day access to the site was immediately blocked: “We acted at the request of the security services.”

The information provided by REG.RU states that the website was blocked “on the basis of a request by an agency with official powers of investigation.” At the same time the registrar explained to Karuev that it had acted in accordance with the regulations for the registration of domain names in the domains .ru and .рф. Point 5.5 of these regulations notes that assignment of a domain can be terminated by a registrar on the basis of a written request by the head, deputy head, or official of equivalent status, of an official agency that has the powers of criminal investigation.

It was on the basis of these regulations for the registration of domain names that the Moscow department of the Federal Drug Trafficking Agency had secured at the beginning of February the blocking of the website of the Andrei Rylkov Foundation, known for its strong criticism of the Russian government’s drug policy. Agora believes that the new regulations allow law enforcement bodies to arbitrarily close down websites considered undesirable without a court decision.

Dmitry Karuev, administrator of the website, is under investigation in Tatarstan in relation to charges of insulting a government official (Article 319 of the Russian Criminal Code). Dmitry Karuev is accused of insultingly depicting police officer Nikolai Gorbunov by ‘decorating his image with a swastika’.