Enjoying ad-free content?
Since July 1, 2024, we have disabled all ads to improve your reading experience.
This commitment costs us $10,000 a month. Your support can help us fill the gap.
Support us
Our journalism is banned in Russia. We need your help to keep providing you with the truth.

Telegram Retains Users After Russia’s Ban Amid Internet Chaos

Alexei Zotov / TASS

The popular Telegram messaging service has shown no signs of losing its users after Russia banned the application in Russia, while dozens of other online services across Russia have suffered accessibility issues.

A Russian court ruled on Friday to block Telegram over its refusal to provide keys allowing the decryption of private conversations to security services. Telegram’s founder vowed a “Digital Resistance” on behalf of 15 million Russian users to fight against what he said was “political censorship.”

Russia’s media regulator Roskomnadzor has blocked more than 18 million Internet Protocol (IP) addresses in an effort to squeeze Telegram out of Russia, the Bell news website reported late Tuesday. The number had declined to 16 million blocked IP addresses by early Wednesday.

Despite the mass crackdown, Telegram’s statistics showed growth in total readership and subscriptions to Russian-language channels in the 48 hours since the ban.

Meanwhile, dozens of online services unaffiliated with Telegram have experienced problems with accessibility in Russia, Telegram’s lawyer Pavel Chikov told the Ekho Moskvy radio station on Wednesday.

Chikov reported that his Agora international human rights group had received 73 complaints in 24 hours from online stores, taxi services, language schools and other websites hosted by the Amazon cloud service in Russia.

Most of Russia’s state bodies have migrated their Telegram channels to TamTam, a messenger owned by Kremlin-linked oligarch Alisher Usmanov’s Mail.ru Group, in compliance with last week’s court order.

Both TamTam and the 1990s-era ICQ instant messenger saw their user numbers spike in mid-2017 in the wake of Telegram’s standoff with Russian security services over encryption keys.

… 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