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Putin’s Internet Adviser Wants Regulator to Apologize for Russia’s Telegram Ban

German Klimenko Kremlin Press Service

President Vladimir Putin’s Internet adviser has recommended for Russia’s media regulator to apologize for wreaking havoc while trying to block the popular Telegram messaging service in the country.

A court ruled to ban Telegram last week for refusing to provide keys that decrypt private conversations to Russian security services. Telecom regulator Roskomnadzor has blocked millions of online addresses since Monday, causing hundreds of unaffiliated websites to experience accessibility issues.

“It would be reasonable for Roskomnadzor to apologize over this complicated story,” Putin’s Internet adviser German Klimenko told the state-run NTV television channel Wednesday. 

“I hope Roskomnadzor will act more carefully from now on,” he added.

Russian Internet users have reported accessibility issues to online services including Telegram’s rival Viber since Telegram was forced offline in Russia.

The nationwide ban has failed to keep Russian decision-makers from using the popular app, which boasts 15 million Russians among its 200 million total users, the RBC business portal reported Thursday.

The outlet reported that at least six Russian lawmakers, Kremlin officials and cabinet members were seen online on the service after the ban. 

State Duma deputy Leonid Levin was quoted as saying that he goes online to “see how the legislation is being implemented.”

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov denied accusations that Roskomnadzor discredited itself with a failed attempt to squeeze Telegram out of Russia.

“It’s obvious that you need time to enforce the law,” the state-run RIA Novosti news agency quoted Peskov as saying Thursday.

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