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Russian Federation plans to temporarily disconnect the entire country from the internet

12 February 2019

Russian Federation is reportedly planning to run a national test on its own infrastructure as part of an effort to "unplug" from the internet.

While Russia has deftly used the internet to advance its own interests, it is apparently concerned about other countries deploying its own tactics, so it is preparing to "disconnect" from the internet, ZDNet reports.

Under the draft law, all internal internet traffic would be carried within the country's own networks.

There is also the threat of censorship, as the system would be monitored by the state communications oversight agency Roskomnadzor, which is known for banning both extremist speech and criticism of the Kremlin.

So far Russian Federation has built a local DNS copy to allow its internet to keep working if local officials pull the plug on connectivity to the rest of the world.

The concept appears similar to China's Great Firewall, which regulates internet operations in view of reinforcing national sovereignty.

Russian Federation has already moved to block webpages run by opposition figures such as Alexei Navalny, a prominent Kremlin critic.

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In March previous year, Putin's then-Internet adviser, German Klimenko, said Russian Federation would be prepared with its own segment of the Internet should Western countries seek to punish it by cutting off all access.

Natalya Kasperskaya, the president of the information security working group that has recommended the experiment, told RBC that the law "has good goals, but the mechanisms for its implementation raise many questions and disputes".

Cost ranks high among the ISPs' concerns. The draft law is undergoing its second reading.

Senior Russian officials have expressed increasing alarm that some form of disconnection may be forced upon them.

Russian internet providers have reportedly been tasked by April 1, to come up with a way that the country could reliably shield itself from cyberattacks. "In this situation we should be thinking how to grow potatoes in a nuclear winter, and not about the internet".

In particular, politicians are anxious that Western accusations of Russian hacking could lead to retaliatory cyberattacks and are trying to develop a way to isolate the Russian internet. "This is a path towards isolating Russian Federation as a whole. from the internet".

"Also through this equipment, Roskomnadzor will block resources prohibited in Russian Federation (now operators do it themselves)", RBK reported.

Russian Federation plans to temporarily disconnect the entire country from the internet