Staunton, Mar. 16 – The Putin regime’s efforts to control the Internet have left many in despair that Russians will be cut off from this last source of independent news and information, but these moves have also sparked a veritable campaign to acquaint Russians will the many ways they can work around such restrictions.
There are dozens of examples of such guidance now appearing in the Russian segment of the Internet. A particularly comprehensive guide is provided by the editors of Ekho Rossia at ehorussia.com/new/node/25506). And Russians, both as producers of content and consumers, are using them with increasing frequency and sophistication.
One clear sign of that: some portals the regime has blocked not only continue to operate but to attract the same or even larger numbers of visitors. One especially noteworthy and valuable in that respect is the Prague-based Caucasus Times (caucasustimes.com/ru/blokirovka-ne-ostanovila-rabotu-caucasus-times/).
This success does not mean that the Putin regime has not achieved a great deal or that its repression in this area should not be denounced as a violation of freedom of speech. But it does mean that Russians are proving far more adept at getting around his restrictions than many in the West are accustomed to thinking.
And each time a Russian does use a VPN or other means to end run Kremlin restrictions, he or she not only recognizes the nature of the regime Russians face but also the possibilities of opposing it, however daunting a task that may appear to be.