Sep 222014


Vladimir Putin

Russian President Vladimir Putin wants a plan to cut his country off from the Internet

Days after ICANN CEO Fadi Chehadé warned of the risk of Internet fragmentation if governments are not made to feel current Internet Governance mechanisms are working, a Russian newspaper has revealed secret Kremlin plans to isolate the country from the Internet.

The plan, discussed today (Monday September 22, 2014) by president Vladimir Putin with his security council, would also see the state take back control of the .RU, .SU and рф domains currently managed by an independent registry.

Beyond state paranoia in the midst of both the NSA cybersurveillance scandal and the more recent Ukraine crisis, it is unclear what has triggered the plan. However it has locals worried. So far, Russia has done little to restrict its population’s access to the Internet but if the plan was enacted, it seems likely that economic and freedom-of-speech repercussions would be dire.

Many Russian domain holders currently host corresponding websites outside the country to escape any risk of government control. They fear that any state takeover of the suffixes would be followed by an obligation to host all domains under Russia’s country codes in Russia.

Russian authorities dispute any desire to increase state control with the plan. Instead, they claim the plan is designed to protect their citizens from possible adverse effects of increased sanctions brought on by a worsening Ukraine situation.