• Sat. Oct 29th, 2022

The Kremlin has constructed an entire infrastructure of repression but has not displaced Western apps. Instead, it is turning to outright intimidation.

Feb 21, 2021

Russias telecommunications regulator, Roskomnadzor, has taken to publicly berating American internet companies, sometimes multiple times a day. On Wednesday, the regulator said that the voice-chat social network Clubhouse had violated the rights of citizens to access information and to distribute it freely by suspending the account of a prominent state television host, Vladimir Solovyov. On Jan. 29, it claimed that Google was blocking YouTube videos containing the Russian national anthem, calling it flagrant and unacceptable rudeness directed at all citizens of our country.
Clubhouse apparently blocked Mr. Solovyovs account because of user complaints, while Google said some videos containing the Russian anthem had been blocked in error because of a content rights issue. Clubhouse did not respond to a request for comment.
In addition, as calls for nationwide protest proliferated after Mr. Navalnys arrest last month, Roskomnadzor said that social networks were encouraging minors to take part in illegal activity.
The Russian social network VKontakte and the Chinese-owned app TikTok partly complied with Roskomnadzors order to block access to protest-related content. But Facebook refused, stating, This content doesnt violate our community standards.
For all its criticism of American social media companies, the Kremlin has used them extensively to spread its message around the world. It was Facebook that served as a primary tool in Russias effort to sway the 2016 United States presidential election. On YouTube, the state-controlled network RT has a combined 14 million subscribers for its English, Spanish and Arabic-language channels.
Ms. Simonyan, the editor of RT, says she will continue to use American social media platforms as long as they are not banned.
To quit using these platforms while everyone else is using them is to capitulate to the adversary, she said in a statement to The New York Times. To ban them for everyone is to vanquish said adversary.