Internet Censorship in Russia: An Overview

As you’re likely aware, many countries in the world censor the Internet and place restrictions on what users can view. One country that engages in such censorious practices is Russia, which also participates in other restrictive practices including regulating news media and impinging on freedom of speech.

Russia has been rated “not free” by Freedom on the Net for multiple years in a row now, with harsh restrictions placed on the country’s population.  Russia’s system of filtering the Internet has been referred to as the “Red Web,” and there are reports that the country is working with China in replicating a version of the Great Firewall within Russia’s borders.

Russia also recently passed some legislation, dubbed Yarovaya’s laws, which includes strict data retention provisions. These laws prescribe that companies retain data for a period of up to 3 years. They also include scary details around encryption, mandating that companies keep “keys” to encrypted communications (this could also be referred to as a backdoor into the communications). The purpose is for these keys to be provided to authorities so they may access any details upon request.

Some newer legislation may also grant the governemnt full power over the Internet, with access to domain names, cables and exchange points – offering unprecedented Internet control within the country. Russia censors in the traditional fashion, blocking popular social networking sites including LinkedIn as well as sites or pages deemed inappropriate. The implications of these laws are far-reaching, as some social media users and other activists have been targets of cyberattacks, jail time and additional negative practices.

View our latest VPN Privacy Guide to learn how to defeat censorship in Russia and access an unrestricted, free and open Internet from Russia: How To Bypass Censorship in Russia