Why Ukrainians banned from the Russian Internet?

Tensions between Ukraine and Russia covers more areas. After three and a half years after the annexation of Crimea and the conflict in the East of Ukraine, where the Kiev government is trying to regain control over the rebellious regions, which openly supports Russia, relations between the countries torn almost in all spheres.

Briefly remind that mutual trade was reduced to a minimum, as energy imports from Russia. From Moscow to Kiev not to get a direct flight, as in the fall of 2015, the Ukrainian government banned Russian airlines to operate in Ukraine.

Now turn to limitations in the virtual space.

In mid-may, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko issued a decree which expanded existing sanctions against Russian individuals and legal entities In the black list now includes almost 1.7 thousand entities, which, in the opinion of Kiev, threatening the security of the country. It includes a widespread program 1C, antivirus company “Kaspersky Lab”, the search engine “Yandex”, the server Mail. ru, social network “Vkontakte” and “Classmates”.

The reason for blocking popular Russian servers and programs was the fact that they were allegedly used by Russian intelligence to spy on the Ukrainians. “Russian intelligence services are conducting a hybrid war against the Ukrainian people. In the course of this war they are conducting information security operation and in their use of the Internet network “Vkontakte”, “Classmates”, Mail.ru and other”, — the Ukrainian security service to substantiate the ban.

Too strict measures

The decision to lock in Ukraine, the Russian social network slightly criticized in Brussels (and in the bodies of the European Union, and NATO). Russia is also not happy with the ban. The Kremlin said the decree Poroshenko unfriendly and short-sighted. It was opposed by even the Russian activists fighting against Internet repression.

“We estimate the negative impact on social networks in Ukraine. The state should not restrict its citizens access to information. No matter what information and what state it is. This phenomenon, which harms the development of civil society, communication and creation of effective economy”, — said in an interview with Tiscali.cz Artem Kozlyuk, the head of the project “Roskomsvoboda”.

According to experts, the situation around the ban “objectionable” sites in Ukraine in the near future may deteriorate.

“If a government started to limit the Internet, it is gradually expanding the criteria of the restricted information and is a black list of sites that should be blocked. The tighter censorship of the Internet in this case, it is only a matter of time,” said Kozluk, referring to the situation in Russia.

Prohibition does not work

Kozlyuk sure that the effectiveness of blocking Russian social networks in Ukraine will be zero. On the contrary, the ban will teach Ukrainians to use the funds in order to work around it.

“Now the Ukrainians will be a crash course in Internet literacy, learn how to bypass Internet censorship. Soon the situation stabiliziruemost, and restricted sites will again visit all those who are interested. I think that 90% of Ukrainians have the possibility to access information that their government has imposed a ban,” adds the Russian expert.

The Ukrainian government and professionals who, probably, participated in the decision, according to Kozluca clearly realized that in fact, no effect will achieve. Moreover, due to the use of servers and programs for anonymous use of the Internet by Ukrainian special services will be even worse to have information, which Ukrainians are divided on the Russian sites.

Word expert confirms the latest statistics. According to the company SimilarWeb, after the decree banning attendance social network “Vkontakte” in Ukraine has decreased only on third. To the blocking of “Vkontakte” was visited by about ten million Ukrainians in the day. Now attendance network reaches about 6.5 million Ukrainian users daily.

However, the Ukrainian government has confirmed that it will not prosecute those citizens who will bypass the lock and will remain a user of Russian social networks. “The goal was to reduce the number of users of Russian sites”, — says the head of the information security apparatus of the national security Council Valentin Petrov.

Users watching intelligence?

Social network “Vkontakte” and “Classmates” are included in the portfolio of the biggest Russian Internet group Mail.Ru Group. Virtual giant owns the fifth in the ranking of the richest Russians Alisher Usmanov, who, though not included in the circle of the closest friends of Russian President Vladimir Putin, however, is considered a loyal oligarch. At the time he bought the interests of the Kremlin, some well-known Russian media.

The information that the social network “Vkontakte” has been collaborating with Russian security agencies, appeared in 2014 after the forced departure of its founder Pavel Durov.

Artem Kozlyuk says that the Russian social networks operate in the conditions of legislative restrictions, and users are forced to reckon with.

“The Russian social network should correspond to the Russian legislation, which tightens, introduced new restrictions. For example, going to the information that social networking users do and how they are combined. However, this does not mean that the state restricts access to social networks. The users themselves must choose what information you wish to provide, and which servers they want to trust. Any person is able to decide which websites and online services him to use,” emphasizes Kozlyuk.

The situation in Russia is not better

Despite the fact that the Kremlin protesting against the ban on Russian servers in the Ukraine, and the step of the government in Kiev calls the restriction of the right to free access to information, the situation in Russia is also not rosy. The Federal service for supervision in the sphere of communications “Roscomnadzor” plays the role of the Internet Inquisition, which blocks unwanted, and often opposition to the Russian regime sites.

“In Russia there are many laws that prohibit any site regardless of subject, and the rule of law. It all depends on political will. Actually solves only one body that can cut off the Russians from social networks” — explains Artem Kozlyuk.

He stresses that the often heard demands to ban Western social network. With some exceptions this has not happened yet.

“The rhetoric of the Russian government on social networks is very hard. Some social networking in Russia is already locked. For example, for several months now in Russia it is impossible to use the network “LinkedIn” due to the fact that its owner did not obey the Russian law requiring data about Russian users must be stored in Russia”, — said the Russian expert.

In total, according to the project “Roskomsvoboda”, Russia has blocked more than six million sites. According to Internet activists, the vast majority (approximately 97%) fell in the black list of the state bodies unnecessarily.