New reports suggest that President Vladimir Putin is considering plans to unplug Russia from the global internet in order to protect themselves from the “unpredictable” West. A spokesman for President Vladimir Putin, Dmitry Peskov, said that a closed meeting would take place on Monday to discuss the radical plans.
“Taking into account the complete unpredictability of the United States and European Union, Russia is taking measures to ensure its own security. Security measures for the Russian Internet are constantly discussed at various levels and at various ministries taking into account the unpredictability of our foreign partners.”
Putin has radical plans to unplug Russia from the global internet in the event of a serious military confrontation or big anti-government protests at home. However, Russia would not be “disconnecting itself.” Moscow does not want to unplug the World Wide Web, but wishes to “ensure its own security” in case of further western sanctions that may affect the internet.
Authorities have already introduced tough curbs on Russian cyberspace, including a law requiring internet companies to store all personal data of Russian users at data centers in the country.
The Vedomosti newspaper reported that the proposals could also bring the domain.ru under state control. Vladimir Putin’s government already controls a sizable amount of Russian media. The Russian internet, however, has so far remained a comparatively open place for discussion. Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, confirmed the Security Council meeting would take place, but declined to discuss its agenda.
However, Vedomosti cites several communications providers, internet firms, and non-governmental organizations, and reported that more meetings next week involving senior officials will address “the work of the Russian segment of the Internet in emergency situations.” According to the report, Vladimir Putin plans to introduce the new measures early next year. The country’s citizens would only be able to use a Russian-wide web.
Putin’s approval ratings went up amidst Russia’s acquisition of Crimea in March. The Russian president is still wary of political unrest in the nation, with the economy already wavering on the verge of recession due to more rigorous sanctions from the European Union and United States over President Putin’s alleged support for separatists in eastern Ukraine.
Vladimir Putin’s Kremlin has been criticized over pro-Russian censorship in the media. Russian channels have portrayed the conflict in Ukraine as a heroic fight against “fascists” in Kiev. They have disputed Western reports that Russian soldiers and heavy weapons are involved.
[Image via Flickr]