Support The Moscow Times!

Russian Bookstore Flees to Telegram After Website Outage

Tatyana Flegontova / TASS

A Russian children’s bookstore has opened a Telegram channel after its website fell victim to the authorities’ efforts to ban the messaging app.

Ordinary Russians could not buy travel tickets, transfer or take out money, purchase insurance policies or play games online after state media regulator Roskomnadzor began blocking Telegram on April 16.

The regulator dismissed 42,000 unrelated complaints of disrupted website service as “not containing correctly formulated complaints.”

“Here we are, our website has been blocked on day 10 of the Telegram block,” Marshak Books wrote in its first Telegram message Wednesday.

The store said it had opened a Telegram page “to be closer to you so that you’ll learn how we’re living, growing, what our new arrivals are, and how we all live now.”

Roskomnadzor, one day after announcing that it blacklisted a series of Google Internet Protocol (IP) addresses, has issued a series of tweets denying that it added the IP addresses of Google services to its blacklist.

Telegram reported that its active base of an estimated 15 million Russian users has shrunk by 3 percent in two weeks, while the media monitoring website Medialogia has registered 76 percent fewer views on the app since April 16.

Citing Telegram’s refusal to grant security services access to its users’ encrypted communications, Roskomnadzor blacklisted almost 18 million Internet Protocol (IP) addresses, including those of Google and Amazon.

Update: Telegram Analytics responded on Thursday to Medialogia's claim of 76 percent fewer views. They said the monitoring website was calculating activity based upon a misleading window of time. Telegram has not observed a drop of 76 percent.

Read more

Independent journalism isn’t dead. You can help keep it alive.

As the only remaining independent, English-language news source reporting from Russia, The Moscow Times plays a critical role in connecting Russia to the world.

Editorial decisions are made entirely by journalists in our newsroom, who adhere to the highest ethical standards. We fearlessly cover issues that are often considered off-limits or taboo in Russia, from domestic violence and LGBT issues to the climate crisis and a secretive nuclear blast that exposed unknowing doctors to radiation.

Please consider making a one-time donation — or better still a recurring donation — to The Moscow Times to help us continue producing vital, high-quality journalism about the world's largest country.