Putin considers plan to unplug Russia from the internet ‘in an emergency’

The EU member states are likely to raise tensions with Vladimir Putin’s Russia to heights not seen since the cold war. Photograph: Mikhail Klimentyev / RIA Novosti / Kremlin Pool/EPA

Kremlin to discuss taking control of the .ru domain and measures to disconnect Russians from the web in the event of unrest

The Kremlin is considering radical plans to unplug Russia from the global internet in the event of a serious military confrontation or big anti-government protests at home, Russian officials hinted on Friday.

President Vladimir Putin will convene a meeting of his security council on Monday. It will discuss what steps Moscow might take to disconnect Russian citizens from the web “in an emergency”, the Vedomosti newspaper reported. The goal would be to strengthen Russia’s sovereignty in cyberspace. The proposals could also bring the domain .ru under state control, it suggested.

Russian TV and most of the country’s newspapers are under the Kremlin’s thumb. But unlike in China, the Russian internet has so far remained a comparatively open place for discussion, albeit one contested by state-sponsored bloggers and Putin fans.

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