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Russia Delays Blocking YouTube and Twitter, Moves to Negotiations

MT

Russia's state media watchdog threatened to block YouTube Thursday if it did not bar access to the accounts of Open Russia within 24 hours.

Roskomnadzor added the political movement founded by exiled oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky to its registry of blocked sites earlier this week, after it was blacklisted in April under a 2015 law that enables prosecutors to restrict organizations deemed a threat to Russia’s national security.

But later Thursday, Roskomnadzor backed down from its threat, saying the sites would not be blocked while talks were under way. 

"At the present time, Roskomnadzor is expecting to achieve compliance with the demands of Russian law through dialogue with foreign social networks and YouTube," a representative of the agency was cited as saying by the RBC business portal. 

Roskomnadzor had sent warnings to 21 websites based on the Prosecutor General's demands, RBC reported. The agency had similarly threatened Twitter on Dec. 13.

"Some of those websites satisfied the demand and some did not," the representative said. 

Access to news sites may also be blocked if they host "the materials of a non-desirable organization," he added. 

The Russian social media site Odnoklassniki announced Thursday that it had blocked the Open Russia page on its service. 

"We received a notice from Roskomnadzor and on that basis were obliged to block access to the group by law," RBC cited a representative as saying.

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