The administration of Russian President Vladimir Putin has lifted restrictions on the use of the Russian Telegram messenger, which was introduced in 2018. She refused to inefficient sanctions and in early July, invited the leadership of the Telegram to the event, during which they discussed the development of Russia’s information technologies. Government, whose policy of strengthening control over the Internet and limitations of freedom of information caused protests of the Russians, even took a course on tax incentives for media companies. The sudden removal of restrictions indicates that power is unnerving inability to get the Internet under control.
“We appreciate that the Telegram expressed the intention to confront extremism.” On 18 June the Federal service for supervision in the sphere of Telecom, information technologies and mass communications (Roskomnadzor) announced that it relieves restrictions on work and family in Russia. In April 2018, Roskomnadzor blocked Telegram because he had refused to provide services law enforcement technology to read the messages in the messenger.
Immediately after that Moscow hosted a large-scale protest against these restrictions. Telegram believed to be the messenger who struggles with information control of the government on the Internet. After the lifting of sanctions, the founder of Telegram, Pavel Durov immediately commented: “This is great news!”
Free messenger uses 30 million people
Telegram is a free app for messaging via smartphone and other gadgets designed in 2013 by Russian programmers. In Russia it is used by approximately 30 million people. Before sending the message is encrypted; also has a function of automatically deleting messages after a certain time, so the feature of Telegram is that it is highly confidential.
This feature became very popular. Worldwide messenger downloaded about 400 million people. On the other hand, in Japan, South Korea and other countries it is often used for criminal purposes.
According to Roskomnadzor, one of the reasons for the cancel lock Telegram is the inability to limit it from a technological point of view. Roskomnadzor has blocked numerous IP addresses, to suppress the activities of the app, but Telegram has taken technological countermeasures and continued to provide services.
The result of the spread of the epidemic, a new coronavirus emerged state structures, which started to use Telegram for transmission of information. Appeared ironic statements that the failure of sanctions “undermines the prestige of the government”.
Roskomnadzor also said that another reason for the unlock is the beginning of active cooperation Telegram in the field of combating terrorism and trafficking in narcotic substances. In this regard, there were suspicions that the Telegram began to cooperate with law enforcement.
On the eve of the lifting of sanctions Durov said: “During this time were improved methods of detection and removal of extremist propaganda, and now, the team intercepted the Telegram every month tens of thousands of attempts to spread public incitement to violence and terror.” Despite this, he stressed that the company’s policy on personal information protection will not change in any of the countries.
Moreover, the Russians were very surprised by the Telegram in the meeting Prime Minister of Russia Mikhail mishustina with representatives of the IT industry in Kazan, which took place on 9 July.
After the heads of major Russian Internet companies with a speech by Vice-President Ilya perekopsky Telegram, which criticized the 30% margin charged by Apple and Google developers as a fee for the distribution of applications. He called on the Russian authorities to take appropriate measures subject to checks initiated by the European Commission against Apple’s allegations of violation of the Antimonopoly legislation.
Progress in the quality of the application
“The government needs a new winner from the people”, — such opinion was expressed by the representative of the Russian Association for electronic communications Karen Ghazaryan, commenting on the Telegram rehabilitation authorities.
Russia seeks to develop an information industry based on the largest platform of “Yandex” and state Bank “Sberbank”. In comparison with China and the United States, whose social networks are distributed worldwide, Russia’s position is irrelevant.
If you poach Telegram to his side and promote the Russian service as an international messenger, you can deliver Russia from the image that it is not competitive in the international arena.
For Durova also has its advantages. In 2018 Telegram has attracted $ 1.7 billion due to primary offering amount of cryptocoins (ICO). Due to this capital company has developed a payment service, which is characterized by high reliability, however, the American Commission on securities and exchange Commission gave the nod to the issue of cryptocurrencies, and in may the project had to be abandoned.
Investors are required to return the money. Some analysts believe that the representatives of the Telegram, which distanced itself from the authorities, took part in the meeting with the Prime Minister Mishustin on 9 July that the actor was able to negotiate the investment with the Russian oligarchs.
Putin, who became President in 2000, took control of the mainstream media and restricted freedom of information. In recent years he has strengthened restrictions on the Internet, which is used by opposition forces. In 2019, a law was passed banning false news that negatively affect public order and the law of the Russian sovereign Internet.
The official reason is to combat terrorism and the spread of extremism, however, young people are protesting, claiming that the purpose of concealing inconvenient for the authorities. There were many formal restrictions, one of which Telegram. Government measures were not very effective.
Excessive restrictions hinder the development of information technology. Experts say that they hinder technological innovation, which the government sees as a growth strategy. On 23 June, ahead of a referendum on amendments to the Constitution, thanks to which Putin will be able to run for a fifth term, the Russian leader proposed to reduce the tax for IT-companies from 20% to 3% for the purpose of economic development.
In 2019, has also implemented a system in which the state can effectively intervene in the management of the largest Russian Internet platform of “Yandex”. That is, the government increases control over the IT industry.
Indicates whether the lifting of sanctions against the Telegram on the weakening of the informational limits in Russia?
“I don’t believe in democratization,” — emphasizes Ghazaryan. In his opinion, the Amnesty Telegram is rationalization of the network of restrictions by the authorities. July 16, the Deputy from “United Russia” introduced to the state Duma a bill on fines of up to 15 million rubles for individuals and legal entities that are not removed extremist information.
It seems that the Telegram was victorious, however, until the freedom of information in Russia is still far.