20 years under Putin: a timeline

Roskomnadzor blacklisted Open Russia online resources upon the request of the Prosecutor General’s Office. According to the regulator’s website, a number of corresponding domain names have been blocked on December 11, 2017, citing Article 15.3 of the Federal Law No. 149-FZOn Information,” which establishes the procedure that limits access to extremist information. 


Roskomnadzor bans imrussia.org in Russia.


The list of the websites blocked on December 11 includes: openrussia.org, openuni.io (Open University), or.team (Open Russia Team), pravo.openrussia.org (Open Russia’s Human Rights Project), imrussia.org (Institute of Modern Russia), khodorkovsky.ru (Mikhail Khodorkovsky’s personal website), and vmestoputina.ru (a project on the alternatives to Vladimir Putin). The websites are still accessible outside Russia.

This move by Roskomnadzor is part of the latest attack on the freedom of speech and civil society in Russia. In mid-November, Russia’s State Duma passed the amendments to the laws “On Information” and “On Media” allowing Roskomnadzor, Russian communications watchdog, to extrajudicially (upon the request of the Prosecutor General’s Office) restrict information produced by foreign nongovernment organizations recognized as “undesirable” or by foreign media labelled as “foreign agents” in Russia. As part of this offense, the Russian authorities have already recognized Voice of America and eight other U.S. media as “foreign agents.”

Whereas the two UK-based entities of Open Russia (Open Russia Civic Movement and “Otkrytaya Rossiya”) and a U.S.-based Institute of Modern Russia have been given the “undesirable” status on April 26, 2017, the Open Russia movement is a Russian organization and as such cannot be and has not been recognized as “undesirable.”

IMR President Pavel Khodorkovsky commented on Roskomnadzor’s decision: “An attempt to block access to the websites of the Institute Modern Russia and Open Russia is a restriction of freedoms and rights of the people living on Russia’s territory to receive free information from independent sources. This is a short-sighted step that is also hard to implement in technical terms because every restriction is just an incentive to find a technological solution. In the country of highly educated, technologically savvy people, these restrictions are naive, as they only stimulate critical assessment of the current affairs. Beyond shortsightedness of the decision itself, this act violates Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that “everyone has the right to… receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.”

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