In light of recent events in Ukraine, Russia has enforced its sovereign internet law to create its own disconnected internet.
In late 2019, Russia proposed the sovereign internet law. This piece of legislation was designed to protect Russian citizens from foreign infrastructure, particularly cybersecurity threats from countries such as the United States. Through this law, the Russian government achieves the full transfer of control of online communication networks to government authorities. By increasing control and isolation of users from foreign data and international communications, the Russian government can effectively manipulate news media and shape its citizens’ beliefs to national political standards. The sovereign internet law also requires that internet service providers install equipment that allows government authorities to circumvent network providers and automatically block content that is not approved by the Russian government.
Russia’s testnet “Runet” has already been successfully trialled and has the ability to work in cases of external distortions, blocks, or other threats. This means that Russia can now disconnect itself from the outside world. These tests were proven effective as many Russian citizens did not know about the war on Ukraine from local or online media until they went on third party internet applications. As such, the sovereign internet law saw major backlash from the people and political activists. Such censorship caused immense protesting and fighting for the right to free use of internet services.
Russia’s geopolitical aspirations continue to deflate its economy.