MOSCOW – The Russian government said on Wednesday that it was slowing down access to Twitter, accusing it of failing to remove illegal content on the social network and hinting that the Kremlin was stepping up its offensive against US Internet companies Who have long provided a haven for freedom of expression.
Soon after the announcement, Twitter was still accessible in the country, but dozens of Russian government websites, including the site of the Kremlin, parliament, several ministries and law enforcement organizations, remained offline for nearly an hour. Russian officials blamed the failure of a device and said the outage was not related to the move against Twitter.
US administration officials said that over the weekend they Planned to retaliate against Russia Last year for a widespread hacking attack that exploited vulnerabilities in government and corporate computer systems in the United States.
Officials said retaliation was planned in the coming weeks, but on Wednesday it remained unclear whether the boycott of government websites was a sign of the latest volley in this cyberculture or an unrelated glitch in Russia’s Internet.
The Ministry of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media said in a statement that the problem with government sites arose from a device failure at a state-run phone company and Internet service provider Rostelecom, and that the move was unrelated to a separate Twitter move by regulators. But to slow down the traffic.
Russian agency announced in a Twitter post.
Russia’s telecommunications regulator said it was reducing the speed at which Twitter was loaded for Internet users in Russia, although it was not immediately clear how noticeable the move would be. The regulator, Roskomnadzor, whose website also went offline after announcing a move against Twitter on Wednesday, failed for years to remove illegal drug use or child pornography or messages “pushing them to suicide” at the US company Accused of living.
“Centralized reactionary measures have been taken against Twitter since 10 March 2021, with the aim of protecting Russian citizens and forcing the Internet service to follow the law on the territory of the Russian Federation – in particular, the speed of service Initial throttle, according to regulations, “the regulator said Statement.
If the Internet service Twitter continues to ignore the demands of the law, measures against it will continue to be in accordance with the rules, including blocking it.
Twitter did not immediately comment.
The social network in Russia has relatively little reach, but this rift may have far-reaching significance. Even President Vladimir V. Putin also withdrew democratic freedom and made fun of the independent media, They have allowed the Internet to remain essentially free..
Twitter – and to a large extent, Facebook’s Instagram and Google’s YouTube – have given Russians ways to speak, report, and organize openly, although the Kremlin controls television television airwaves.
Those social networks played an important role in the anti-Kremlin demonstrations, along with the Chinese-owned Tittock, which this year coincided with the return and imprisonment of anti-leader Alexei A. Navalny. Mr. Navalny has some 2.5 million Twitter followers, and his investigation, published in Mr. Putin’s alleged secret palace in January, was viewed more than 100 million times on YouTube.
Russian officials claim that Silicon Valley companies discriminate against Russians by blocking certain pro-Kremlin accounts while handing out megaphone to critics of the Kremlin. He has also said that the social network has refused to remove the content which attracted children in unauthorized protest in support of Mr Navalani.
In recent weeks, the Kremlin has criticized American Internet companies by drinking a sharp liquor that has led them to corrupt foreign forces.
“Online, we collide with children’s pornography and child prostitution, with the sale and distribution of drugs, with children and adolescents as targets.” Mr. Putin said this month.
The Internet, Mr. Putin said, “must respect the moral rules of the society in which we live – otherwise, this society will be destroyed from the inside.”
Twitter has a small user base in Russia, although it is popular among journalists, politicians and opposition activists. A report from last year estimated that the service has 690,000 active users in Russia, meaning that the move is likely to be far less than any public backlash if the Kremlin struck similar limits for Instagram or YouTube Is implemented.
Russia, with a population of 144 million, is also an important market for American Internet companies and offers some economic benefits to the Russian government in response to growing cyber contact with the United States at risk of closure. US officials said they intended to retaliate against Russia hacking SolarWinds, a Texas-based company that provides software to government and corporate clients.
In recent history, another explanation can be suggested for the failure of Russian government websites on Wednesday: being overrun by a massive regulator.
In 2018, Roskomnadzor tried to close the messaging app Telegram, Unknowingly blocked Service to thousands of other websites in Russia. By Wednesday midnight, several Russian government sites, including those associated with the Kremlin and parliament, were back online.