Report: Kremlin Considering Steps to Disconnect Russia from the Internet During Emergencies

Russian President Vladimir Putin, Sept. 1, 2014

Russia is considering measures to protect its cyberspace from the “unpredictable” West, President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman said on Friday after a newspaper said Moscow was contemplating unplugging the Internet during protests or war.

The respected business daily Vedomosti, citing industry sources, said that Putin will convene Monday a meeting of the country’s Security Council to discuss possible restrictions on the Russian cyberspace — the last forum for free expression in the country.

Vedomosti said authorities were contemplating measures to unplug Russia from the global web in emergency situations such as major protests or military hostilities. . . .

[Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov]  said authorities were not planning to disconnect Russian cyberspace from the global web but needed to take measures to protect the country from the “unpredictable” West.

“Taking into account the complete unpredictability of the United States and European Union, Russia is taking measures to ensure its own security,” Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov told AFP. . . .

“We are not talking about Russia disconnecting itself. . . .

“Citing several communications providers, Internet firms and non-governmental organisations, Vedomosti said several more meetings next week involving senior officials will address “the work of the Russian segment of the Internet in emergency situations.

“Authorities are planning to adopt measures “strengthening the sovereignty of the Russian segment of the World Wide Web” that could include the powers to unplug Russia from the Web in special circumstances such as major rallies or military hostilities, the newspaper said citing sources.

Image: Russian President Vladimir Putin, Sept. 1, 2014 (photo: Office of the President of Russia)