Russian President, Vladimir Putin, has now signed a law due to come into force in November banning technologies which allow users access to banned websites. These sites are on a list which has been created by the Russian government and extends to virtual private networks (VPN’s) and proxies. The nations internet service providers will also have to block webpages that host these tools.
Cynics might suggest that this move has come at a strategic time. Russia is due to hold a presidential election in March next year, and this ban will make it a lot harder for voters to see negative press about the current president, or in fact begin to organise a protest with anonymity.
Another law believed to have been signed by president Putin is that, after January 2018, messaging and chat apps will need to identify users through their phone numbers, making communication in secret that one step harder.
These movements do seem to be very close to the VPN crackdown recently imposed by China, and it appears that officials are trying to control the online conversation at a crucial moment to make sure that rulers go unchallenged.