Why to Ignore Russian Internet Laws
There is internet censorship in Russia. VPNs and internet providers are required to install into their networks Revizor, a device that checks that censored sites can't be accessed from their network. They are also required to install SORM (wiki/SORM, another wiki) to help Russian special services to analyse traffic and track users.
If you have or are going to have internet business in Russia I call you to ignore all the demands to install SORM and Revizor into your network. Also don't move personal data to Russia. If you can't avoid complying to these demands then just don't have your business in Russia at all.
Please, don't invest in Cheburnet (autonomous Russian internet that can be easily isolated and abusively censored without any collateral damage). Cheburnet is built to help the Kremlin in power usurpation.
Content Control Is Abused
Russian censorship is abused to suppress any oppositional or competitive political activity so making the process of elections non-democratic. Examples:
- https://2019.vote, a site calling to unite against United Russia in regional elections, was blocked (the registry record) because it used Google Analytics which keeps user's data outside of Russia.
- http://kasparov.ru and https://graniru.org were blocked for "making calls for unlawful activity and participation in mass events held with breaches of public order".
- Site of Open Russia organization (on khodorkovsky.com) was declared undesirable and blocked in 2017.
- Site of news agency "MBK Media" by Khodorkovsky was blocked in 2018, it's blog on the platform Yandex.Zen was also blocked. Reason: spreading "informational materials of undesirable organizations" (dw (ru)).
- In 2018 Google had "complied with an illegal demand by the Russian authorities" to remove legal political ads from youtube.
- Telegram network hosts many political channels popular in Russia. In 2018 Telegram rejected to give out encryption keys to correspondence of all (Russian?) telegram users to special services of Russia. Sources: wiki, Durov's post on vk.com (ru).
- In 2018 Aleksei Navalny's blog on https://navalny.com was blocked for a report about "an alleged meeting between billionaire Oleg Deripaska and Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Prikhodko, a longtime former senior adviser to President Vladimir Putin." on a yacht and with girls which may be considered as a bribery. The reason of censorship is "Navalny’s video violated the oligarch's and deputy prime minister right to a private life".
- In 2019 RosKomNadzor ordered to wipe out tons of rumours about VTB Bank's president Kostin, Nailya Asker-Zade and "about two luxury apartments first owned by VTB Bank and then by Nailya Asker-Zade". Sources: meduza.
- Blogs https://putinism.wordpress.com and https://6090m01.wordpress.com are not in the registry but self censored by WordPress team for users with IPs located in Russia. I guess the team followed some requests by RosKomNadzor. Both blogs are critical to the Kremlin.
- LinkedIn.com is blocked "because it stores the user data of Russian citizens outside of the country".
Content Control Is Imposed by Non-Democratic Powers
- In the 2018 presidential election the chief threat to Vladimir Putin, Mr. Navalny, was barred from running a compaign in the elections because of a criminal case against him which was proved unfair by ECHR.
- Elections of every level in Russia are falsified.
Reasons Not To Move Personal Data To Russia
Risk Of Data Centers Shutdown
My opinion is that the only true objective of this demand is to create the ability for the Kremlin to easily shutdown internet services with data centers with personal data in Russia because they are used during protests or meetings like, e.g., twitter.
Balkanized Internet Is Less Effective
These trends, both within individual countries and in broader international forums, pose asignificant threat to the free and open Internet that we benefit from today. If data localization andother efforts are successful, then what we will face is the effective Balkanization of the Internet and the creation of a "splinternet" broken up into smaller national and regional pieces with barriersaround each of the splintered Internets to replace the global Internet we know today. Richard Salgado, 13.11.2013, Google
I Don't Believe You, Give Me More!
If you need some gory details about falsifications, censorship and runet laws, please, contact oppositional politician Alexey Navalny or better Leonid Volkov, a creator of Internet Protection Society (ru).
Attitude to Cheburnet
Yandex And Mail.Ru Group
17.01.2019 Yandex (Alexey Sokolov) and Mail.Ru Group (Vladimir Gabrielyan) supported Runet isolation laws. Sources: tjournal (ru).
Google removes sites that infringe copyright but doesn't censor all the sites required by RosKomNadzor. E.g. political sites 2019.vote, kasparov.ru, grani.ru are not blocked.
Here is a translation of https://t.me/zatelecom/10333, 18.06.2019, RF is Russian Federation:
Replies from VPNs, that received a demand to join the Russian's system of censorship:
⛔️TorGuard — rejected + removed servers from RF.
⛔️VyprVPN — rejected.
⛔️OpenVPN — rejected, doesn't have servers in RF.
⛔️NordVPN — rejected + removed servers from RF.
⛔️VPN Unlimited — rejected.
⛔️IPVanish — reject + removed servers from RF.
⛔️Hide My Ass! — rejected + removed servers from RF.
⛔️Avast SecureLine VPN — rejected + removed servers from RF.
⛔️ExpressVPN — rejected.
💤Hola VPN — no reaction.
👻Kaspersky Secure Connection — accepted.
Reaction from VPNs, that haven't received the demand but declared their position beforehand:
⛔️ProtonVPN — rejeted.
⛔️Private Internet Access — rejected, doesn't have servers in RF.
⛔️TrustZone — rejected + in the process of removing servers from RF.
⛔️Windscribe — rejected.
⛔️Ivacy VPN — rejected.
⛔️TgVPN — rejected, doesn't have servers in RF intentionally.
⛔️PrivateVPN — rejected.
⛔️TunnelBear — rejected (without decision of the court of Canada).
⛔️ZenMate — rejected.
18 reject collaboration with Russian system of censorship, 1 - still thinks, 1 - accepted.
This note was created as a reaction to CloudFlare's plans to adhere to content restrictions in Russia in their Warp VPN: https://community.cloudflare.com/t/warp-vpn-without-sorm-and-revizor/95149.
Etymology Of Cheburnet
The word "Cheburnet" is a play of a deeply Russian word "Cheburashka" and "net". "Cheburashka" or "Topple" is a friendly unknown to science fictional animal from a 1966 story by Soviet writer Eduard Uspensky. The word "Cheburashka" stems from "cheburakhnulsya", a Russian colloquialism meaning "tumbled". "Cheburashka" also used to known in Russia as another name for roly-poly toy. Source: wiki/Cheburashka.