Staunton, February 4 – The growth in Internet use in the Russian Federation over the last year has meant that “for the first time, the Internet began to be considered by the Russian government as the main source of threat to its well-being and stability,” according to the annual report of the Agora Inter-Regional Human Rights Organization.
The 12-page, heavily footnoted report by Damir Gaynutdinov and Pavel Chikov is at www.eliberator.ru/files/%D0%90%D0%93%D0%9E%D0%A0%D0%90.%20%D0%9D%D0%B5%D1%81%D0%B2%D0%BE%D0%B1%D0%BE%D0%B4%D0%B0%20%D0%98%D0%BD%D1%82%D0%B5%D1%80%D0%BD%D0%B5%D1%82%D0%B0%202012.pdf. A partial summary of its contents can be found at grani.ru/Internet/m.211237.html
And that too, they argue, is unlikely to change, even though the issues are gaining attention with some high profile people like Aleksey Navalny affected and other Web activists fleeing abroad.
For the first time, last year featured “the massive flight” of such activists to other countries. At the same time, the authors of the report note, “the owners of sites also began actively to choose foreign jurisdictions” for their IPs.
No one should be under any illusion that this is a purely domestic problem, Gaynutdinov and Chikov argues. Moscow’s policy at home increasingly during 2012 found expression in its foreign policy actions, even though it suffered defeats in 2011 at the UN and in December 2012 at Dubai, when its ideas on “net sovereignty” were rejected by the international community.
Indeed, they conclude, it is entirely fair to say that “namely Russia represents for the free and open Internet a global threat to the extent that far more than China it is interested in the adoption of international acts regulating the Net.” That will continue and should provide common ground for Internet users inside the Russian Federation and those abroad.