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.

Russian Lawmakers Pass Bill to Make Web Giants Go Local


Russian lawmakers on Tuesday backed a bill that would force foreign internet companies to set up local offices or face harsh penalties, including an outright ban.

The bill was passed on the first of its three required readings, parliament's lower house said in a statement.

The legislation concerns online companies whose daily users in Russia tops 500,000. 

Failure to comply will result in penalties, including a ban on advertising their services, a ban on collecting payments, or partial or full blockage in the country.

Russia has in recent months stepped up efforts to impose more control on online platforms, including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, with President Vladimir Putin saying large tech companies have become so influential they are "competing" with sovereign states.

The country holds parliamentary elections in September.

Restrictive measures have raised concerns among Kremlin critics, who fear the clampdown is aimed at silencing opposition voices.

In January, Russian authorities accused foreign social media platforms of interfering in the country's domestic affairs by not deleting calls to protest in support of jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny.

The state telecommunications watchdog in March slowed down the speed at which Twitter operates – a process known as throttling. 

It accused the microblogging site of failing to remove content related to child pornography, drug use and calls for minors to commit suicide. 

Twitter said at the time it was "deeply concerned by increased attempts to block and throttle online public conversation".

… 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