Russian President Vladimir Putin is first and foremost an FSB spy. This has instilled him with the initial reaction to distrust anything coming from the West. It is therefore common knowledge within Russia that Putin believes the internet is a CIA-made tool developed by the West to spy on other countries.
The Kremlin now believes it has found a solution to this. They will develop their own internet with their own root servers.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Why Russia is Building Its Own Internet <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Building?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Building</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/BRICS?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#BRICS</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/PaulVixie?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#PaulVixie</a> <a href="https://t.co/5lJW7k9ojl">https://t.co/5lJW7k9ojl</a> <a href="https://t.co/0OvqYVi1mH">pic.twitter.com/0OvqYVi1mH</a></p>— 5G (@5GWorld) <a href="https://twitter.com/5GWorld/status/953880642130980864?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">January 18, 2018</a></blockquote>
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You may know or not that internet access in Russia is much like it is in China, aka not free at all. A lot of ‘US’ sites are not accessible, you can go to jail for posting ‘wrong ideas’ on social media, there is no VPN service allowed and data storage is in great demand but not easy to come by.
And if the Kremlin gets its way, things will become harder rather than easier.
According to preliminary reports, Putin is interested in developing an internet together with the BRICS countries (which apart from Russia includes Brazil, India, China and South Africa), in order to counter the "dominance of the US and a few EU states concerning internet regulation".
The fact that the international monitor of the internet, the International Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), does not abide by governments and only lets them have an advisory role into how the world wide web is developing further, is very frustrating for authoritarian regimes.
ICANN board member Mr. Wolfgang Kleinwächter explains: "Unlike the UN Security Council, no one has a permanent seat with veto rights."
For this reason, Russia would like its own root servers apart from the others, allowing it to fully control what their population sees and reads.
But Mr. Wolfgang Kleinwächter does not agree. According to him, it is not because the US has one of the internet root servers that the US government could shut off a country from the internet: "That's utter nonsense."
"Even if the US president has control of the A root server, and he doesn't, deleting the zone files ending on .ru would make no sense at all because this zone file still exists on all the other root and anycast servers."