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Russian official dismisses idea of banning Gmail, Skype

updated 11:20 am EDT, Sat April 9, 2011

Russia may reject Gmail, Skype bans out of hand

An anonymous official from Russia's Kremlin on Saturday dismissed an FSB proposal to ban Gmail, Hotmail, Skype and possibly other services. The official disliked a set of attacks on a major Russian blogging site but didn't believe the proposal, from the FSB security agency's information lead Alexander Andreyechkin, was necessary. He didn't explain to the AP support why or whether the statement was a sign the government would reject the FSB's measure out of hand.

The proposal was ostensibly to get greater control over communications within Russia, since the services in question often have their servers outside of the country. Local observers believed it was a pretext for a crackdown on communications to help steer the results of parliamentary elections in December and the choice of president in March.

Concerns had existed that the Kremlin would be more likely to support the proposal given Vladimir Putin's connections to the FSB and, even under the Medvedev presidency, a willingness to use the FSB to further his agenda. Relations with the US and a possible backlash from locals could play significant roles in turning down the proposal.

By Electronista Staff
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  1. Jonathan-Tanya

    Fresh-Faced Recruit

    Joined: Oct 2004


    I don't think President Medvedev is anonymous

    President Medvedev is against banning these services, and its exactly why the Kremlin issued a statement that the FSB official had simply expressed his own opinion - and furthermore had abused his position by expressing it.

    And, the FSB also later clarified they had no plans to ban these services.

    I disagree with the tone of this article - this quote-unquote 'proposal' was probably never seriously considered at all - Medvedev wouldn't consider it, because, for one, he personally uses the internet and love it - two, so do Russians and he'd like to maintain popularity.

    Also, its important for economic development/tax revenues, all of which are goals of the government, especially to diversify away from oil revenues.

    There are old hard liners that think in terms of security and not in terms of economy - but just because one of them voiced his opinion - didn't make this a real possibility.

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