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The Russian Internet - at the Service of the State

posted 4 May 2012, 07:51 by Rights in Russia   [ updated 4 May 2012, 07:54 ]
25 April 2012

It has been noted many times that the Russian authorities are doing their utmost to strengthen their influence over the World Wide Web, recognising its importance and role as a catalyst for self determination amongst ordinary citizens. However, due to their poor understanding of the technical nature of the Internet, and a lack of any systemic approach, their specific initiatives have been tended to be chaotic. Nevertheless, a new trend in the regulation of the Russian sector of the World Wide Web is becoming increasingly perceptible. 

Perhaps the best expression to describe it is: “Get someone else to do the dirty work for you”. Regulation and control is being carried out by intermediaries rather than through direct intervention and decisions by government bodies. The constraints employed are various and depend on which state structure is working in “tandem” with these intermediaries: the Ministry of Communications uses shady “self-regulating organisations”, the Federal Financial Monitoring Agency (Rosfinmonitoring) uses the banks, and the security services operate through internet providers, domain registration organisations and social networking site administrators. This collaboration is not always undertaken willingly or even consciously, very often it simply suffices to create conditions under which the intermediary is forced to act in a certain way. [Read more]