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Russian Court Bans Telegram Messaging App, the Reactions

Instagram @durov / MT

A Moscow court ruled to block access to the popular Telegram instant messaging service in Russia after it refused to give security services access to users’ secret messages in an ongoing legal battle.  

Many Russians, including government officials, have suggested ways to bypass the ban and continue using the application. Others have suggested moving to alternative messaging services like Viber and WhatsApp.

This is how Russia reacted to the ban:

— Roskomnadzor head Alexander Zharov

“Imagine there are armed hostilities and you say: ‘When will you start the attack?’ Well, in the near future. I won’t say when I’ll strike [to begin blocking Telegram].”

Telegram founder and CEO, Pavel Durov

— Russia's deputy communications minister, Alexei Volin

"Many Telegram users have already adopted different messengers, and those who want to stay with this product know a lot of ways to get around the ban and continue using the services they are used to.” 

“Do we have a law that prohibits evading bans? I haven’t heard of one.” 

Pavel Chikov, a lawyer representing Telegram

"They have demonstrated again and again that the court system is devoted to serving the interests of the authorities. They no longer even care about basic external appearances.”

— Sergei Boyarsky, State Duma deputy from ruling United Russia party

“I believe discussing possible circumventions in the media is an unacceptable manifestation of legal nihilism.”

— Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov

“The court decision is made, and if Telegram will be blocked in Russia, I don’t intend to look for ways to bypass it or use programs that allow access to the service through a workaround.”

 Opposition leader Alexei Navalny

Our man made an international messenger. Made money. Didn’t trade oil or gas. Of course, we should be proud of this man and help him. Let him pursue business, give jobs and salaries to the people. But no. The idiots in the Kremlin see this person as an enemy.” 

— Duma Deputy Speaker Pyotr Tolstoy

“The fact is that the law must be observed after all. And we must all observe it, whether you’re — I don’t know — Bruce Willis, Pavel Durov, of Steven Seagal.”

— German Klimenko, President Vladimir Putin’s Internet adviser

“[Before listing ICQ, Viber and WhatsApp as alternative messaging services] Blocking Telegram will in no way affect the lives of Russians.” 

— Russian Foreign Ministry

“#MFARussia is now in @Viber too. Join our Community.”

— Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov

"Limiting access was not the goal in and of itself.” 

"There is the legal position, which requires the provision of data to certain Russian state bodies. Meeting this condition would have allowed for a consensus. But unfortunately, this consensus was not reached.”

— Telegram founder and CEO, Pavel Durov

To be truly free, you should be ready to risk everything for freedom.

A post shared by Pavel Durov (@durov) on

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