Not only did the total number of such interventions increase for the Russian Federation as a whole, but the number of regions where Agora judges the situation to be serioius increased from 26 in 2017 to 41 in 2018, a continuation of a trend the monitoring group has pointed to in each of the last four years.
But if that was a continuation of earlier trends, there was a new development this year which the authors of the Agora report suggest indicates that the future may be even worse for those who seek to use the Internet.
That development is this, the authors say, “having recognizing that blocking at the level of Internet providers is ineffective and recognizing the reputational risks which mass criminal persecution of ordinary users entail, the Russian powers that be hope to control the internet” in a different way.
They want to force the major services to cooperate and thus monopolize the market of access to the Internet. That means, the report says, that Moscow and its representatives in the region will be using these new means more than some of the old ones, possibly allowing Moscow to claim it is liberalizing when in fact it is continuing to crack down.