A New Iron Curtain: Russia’s Sovereign Internet

Photo: The logo of Russia's state communications regulator, Roskomnadzor, is reflected in a laptop screen in this picture illustration taken February 12, 2019. Credit: REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov.
Photo: The logo of Russia's state communications regulator, Roskomnadzor, is reflected in a laptop screen in this picture illustration taken February 12, 2019. Credit: REUTERS/Maxim Shemetov.

March 23, 2022

As Russia sends tanks and soldiers to take over Ukraine, it is also dispatching censors and regulators to strangle the Internet. In this CEPA special series, Senior Fellows Andrei Soldatov and Irina Borogan argue that both invasions are linked and represent the culmination of a more than a decade-long trend to throttle the free and open flow of information in Russia.

ARTICLES

Part 1: Putin Wakes Up to the Danger of a Free Internet

Inside Russia, the Internet remains up and running, and news from Ukraine has become more and more dangerous to Putin.

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Part 2: The Free Internet Stymies Putin

Despite Putin’s best efforts, it has become clear that Russia’s Sovereign Internet filtering system is ineffective.

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Part 3: The Internet is a Western Plot

In 2017, Russia vowed to make its Internet sustainable and self-sufficient. In reality, the Kremlin undertook its first systematic effort to control its cyberspace.

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Part 4: Russia's Sovereign Internet Takes Root

In 2019, Putin signed new legislation to shut Russians off from information disputing the Kremlin narrative. Western tech helped build the censorship apparatus.

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Part 5: Russia's War Against Silicon Valley

When he came to power, Vladimir Putin ignored the Internet. After discovering its power, he has tried to control it. Now, as he wages war in Ukraine, he wants to suppress it. He must not succeed.

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