Support The Moscow Times!

Russia Targets VPNs in Internet Clampdown


Russia's media watchdog is asking online anonymizers and VPN services to restrict Russians access to blacklisted sites.

Anonymizers and VPNs (Virtual Private Networks) allow internet users to bypass regional restrictions on locally blocked sites by routing their data through a proxy server based abroad.

Markus Saar, general director of the VPN, was targeted by officials after his domain was blocked by a court in the provincial Russian region of Bashkortostan, the Vedomosti newspaper reported Monday.

The state agency delayed unblocking the site, even when all of the disputed content had been removed, Saar said. Instead, they contacted the company director via letter, asking him to restrict users' access to all blacklisted content.

While the site has since been unblocked, Saar condemned the move as "official pressure" on an independent company.

In a statement, Roskomnadzor spokesman Vadim Ampelonsky claimed that some proxy services were already cooperating with the government. He also stressed that anonymizers and VPNs which did not comply with regional laws were illegal in Russia and would be banned.

More than 100 VPN sites and services are currently blocked within Russia, Vedomosti reported.

… we have a small favor to ask. As you may have heard, The Moscow Times, an independent news source for over 30 years, has been unjustly branded as a "foreign agent" by the Russian government. This blatant attempt to silence our voice is a direct assault on the integrity of journalism and the values we hold dear.

We, the journalists of The Moscow Times, refuse to be silenced. Our commitment to providing accurate and unbiased reporting on Russia remains unshaken. But we need your help to continue our critical mission.

Your support, no matter how small, makes a world of difference. If you can, please support us monthly starting from just $2. It's quick to set up, and you can be confident that you're making a significant impact every month by supporting open, independent journalism. Thank you.

paiment methods
Not ready to support today?
Remind me later.

Read more