EDITORIAL: The End of the Russian Internet


The End of the Russian Internet

The Russian wire service RBK Daily broke a rather sensational story last week:  The Putin regime is going into the search engine business.  Foreign Policy’s Evgeny Morozov writes that Kremlin functionary Igor Ashmanov declared on Echo of Moscow radio that since Google is nothing more than a pawn of the U.S. government, there is no reason why the Kremlin should not have its own.  Morozov continues:

According to RBK’s anonymous sources inside Kremlin, it would aim at satisfying “state-oriented” needs such as “facilitating access to safe information” and “filtering web-sites that feature banned content.” It’s going to be an ambitious project: the government is prepared to invest $100 million in this new venture, does not want to allow any foreign funding, and intends to build it in cooperation with the private sector.

So much for the notion that the Russian Kremlin cannot affect control over the Russian Internet and/or has no intention of doing so. Once the Kremlin has it’s own search engine in place, it can simply remove all the others from the net.

Morozov points out that Google’s market share has been rising rapidly over the past few years, and concludes that the Kremlin’s efforts are aimed directly at making sure Google cannot do in Russia what it has done in China.  The Kremlin already owns a “golden share” in Russia’s most significant domestic search engine, Yandex.ru, and has forced Yandex to shut down its crucial blog ranking, which was the leading way of publicizing blog posts in the country and which had brought a number of Putin-critical bloggers to national prominence.

An effort by the Kremlin to seize control of Internet domains is already well underway, and Morozov notes that the Kremlin is also considering a plan to force all Russians to accept a government-provided e-mail address.  In short, the Putin regime is now engaged n all-out war against the Russian Internet.  From Vladivostok to Murmansk, an virtual iron curtain is descending across the continent, threating to cut off the perhaps 30% of the Russian population that has regular access to the Internet, and to sources of unvarnished criticism of Putin such as the blog you are reading now.

That’s how weak and nervous Putin is.  Controlling a massive 70% of the population, which votes for him in lockstep like sheep, is not enough for him, nor is he satisfied with his ability to shamelessly manipulate all votes through fraud, as we document below in today’s issue.  Putin must have 100% loyalty, just like Stalin before him, and he’s willing to wipe out the flow of information, choking off his country from innovation and development, in order to achieve that goal.

And just like Stalin, Putin is cloaking himself in paranoid fantasy.  To openly suggest that Google is nothing but a pawn of the U.S. government is an indication of just how unhinged and detached from anything remotely resembling reality the Putin regime has become.

15 responses to “EDITORIAL: The End of the Russian Internet

  1. I think government sponsored email addresses is a brilliant idea. First it will allow for universal access to email and eventually universal internet access for all Russians, not just hackers and moscow snobs. Internet access is a human right therefore Russia will become more civilized than those barbarians in the West who deny their poor internet access.

    Russia can also solve its chronic unemployment by hiring email readers to ensure that Russian comply with the Putin’s stringent standards. Then there will need to be an army of internet compliance regulators to ensure that only government approved sites are visited by the population.

    This is another brilliant step by the wonderful leader Putin, who should send his plans to Obama to copy in the US. As every Generation Y’er knows government is benevolent and the private sector is malignant.

  2. here comes the PUTINET!!!

    I also have brilliant idea how Russians how could save on calendars, just print the calendars of the year 1984 and use it every year. See? No need to print new callendars every year!

  3. I apperciate your guys sense of humor but I’m really scared. Now my own country’s falling into Putinistani sphere of influence and I’m affraid after Putin introduce this swell innovation his staunch henchman Yanukovycz will try to do the same to us given how paranoid about the US Regionate morons are.
    And I’m not sure to what extent it can be taken for just kidding on Admiral’s ))) part, but anyway I don’t see any social or egalitarian stuff about that government-sponsored-email-address thing Putin promotes, I don’t even get what it means. Does it mean that government is gonna give everybody a laptop for free plus provide wifi everywhere?

    • It means that, in the fullness of time, the only way a Russian will be able to send an e-mail is via a government server. It means there will be no anonymity, the government will know the name and address and phone number behind every email address, and will control where (and whether) that person works or collects a pension or gets healthcare or gets arrested. Welcome to the neo-USSR!

  4. Foreign Policy’s Evgeny Morozov writes that Kremlin functionary Igor Ashmanov declared on Echo of Moscow radio that since Google is nothing more than a pawn of the U.S. government, there is no reason why the Kremlin should not have its own.

    In his interview, this evil Igor Ashmanov is not hiding his evil plans:


    Q: Will Russia set up a state search engine in the foreseeable future?

    A. Ashmanov: I do not know, I am not convinced.

    Q: Are you personally prepared to participate in the development of a public search engine?

    A. Ashmanov: I do not know, I am not convinced.

    Q: What is the probability that the state in Russia would regulate the activities of search engines?

    A. Ashmanov: I think, not very high. Likely it will be a “soft effect”.

    • “I do not know, I am not convinced.”

      -probably means –

      “yes, we really would like to do that, but I must openly admit that I don’t know if we will be able to find enough skilled and gifted specialists and alocate such sum of money to do that with huge problems of brain drain and low oil prices right now :(((“

    • Thanks for agreeing that if Russia were to create a state-sponsored search engine and regulate it, that would be evil. You say it won’t happen, we say it will. If we’re right, you’ve admitted Putin is Stalin, Nice!

  5. Don’t you get it guys? I told you already. Internet control is the main task of mini-Putin (also known as Medvedev) on his post.

    Medvedev opening blog. Medvedev visiting Novaya Gazeta. Medvedev here, Medvedev there. Why do you think he is doing it? Out of curiosity? Right. But what is the goal of this curiosity? He is special chekist project, the whole Medvedev is 100% Putin and Sechin project. Don’t you get it yet? Many stupid Russians still don’t get it… sheep-like life does not stimulate independent thought…

  6. Thanks a lot for clarifying the issue Kim!
    That was exactly my point, the reason I asked the question was not my stupidity, but the intention to emphasize that actually this initiative has nothing to with charity or desire to provide universal intenet access Russians. People don’t need any “help” from government to access the Internet, but making all this stuff cheaper and more affordable. If you have ineternet access + PC or even cell phone all you need to do is just plug and play! You don’t need any government servers to “help” you. But Russian government feels differently about the idea. Russian rulers always’ve been pathological control freaks.

    • You are forgetting that the Internet itself was created by the government of the United States. For military purposes.


      Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)

      U.S. government agency created in 1958 to facilitate research in technology with potential military applications. Most of DARPA’s projects are classified secrets, but many of its military innovations have had great influence in the civilian world, particularly in the areas of electronics, telecommunications, and computer science. It is perhaps best known for ARPANET, an early network of time-sharing computers that formed the basis of the Internet.

      DARPA owes its creation to the October 1957 launch of Sputnik by the Soviet Union

  7. The best inventions usually are military-related.

    • In the hands of West Europeans – yes. The Chinese use the gun powder for fireworks for centuries, until the Europeans saw it and immediately realized that it can be used to exterminate other human beings.

  8. Welcome to Putinstan . Home of the living
    dead . The KGB rides again , rather it was always
    there hiding under FSB . It won’t be long now ,
    when the moscvenes will be dragged out of
    their homes in the middle of the night , just
    like in ” the good old days ” . Little ” Dima “,
    is on the list already .

  9. RTR,
    Actually, the Chinese made use of gunpowder for killing centuries before Europeans caught on to the idea. In fact, the spread of this technology to the western world occurred via the horrific 13th-century Mongol conquest of Russia and Hungary, during which it was certainly used for “the extermination of human beings” (in the Battle of Mohi for example). Incidentally, this stuff about Western Europeans only being able to produce inventions for militaristic purposes sounds like a bunch of neo-Slavophil crap. Consider the telescope…

    Whatever the internet’s origins, it now fulfills an important civic function. If the Russian government takes over its maintenance, then the people of Russia will suffer greater isolation from the world and each other. The censorial purposes Putin’s regime would undoubtedly use this kind of control for could be expected to preserve and enhance the ignorance and servility of large sections of Russia’s population. This news does not bode well at all for Russia and her neighbors.

  10. Pingback: Aanval op Google – Menno Hurenkamp

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