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Russia briefly disabled ‘international’ internet – RBK — RT Russia and the former Soviet Union



Russian authorities have temporarily disconnected the country from the global internet, RBK news outlet reported on Wednesday, citing sources in the telecommunications industry. The move was part of a legally mandated test to assess whether national networks can handle their operation on their own.

THE “International internet has been disabled” sometime between Tuesday and Wednesday as media regulator Roskomnadzor checked the performance of Russian sites and network-dependent services in case the country was disconnected from abroad.

“The exercises were successful” a Roskomnadzor representative told RBK, adding that the Sovereign Internet Law of 2019 mandates such a test at least once a year. He wouldn’t say what the exercise was supposed to accomplish.

“During the exercise, they were able to check if RuNet would really continue to work after such a shutdown. Body armor is tested in much the same way, when put on dummies and then shot down,” said a telecommunications manager at the outlet.

The leader of the Sitronics group, Alexander Dvoryansky, noted that Russia must take into account the possibility of being disconnected from the global network, since the root servers are controlled by the United States. Tests to determine if RuNet will continue to operate if cut off from the rest of the world are “absolutely timely” Qrator Labs founder Alexander Lyamin agreed.

The 2019 law envisioned creating Russia’s own national DNS system, which would store all domain names and corresponding IP addresses and provide cryptographic data protection. It also allowed Roskomnadzor to install special equipment on network nodes to replace routing. The technology has since been used to target banned platforms and content in Russia, but several officials have insisted it will never reach the level of the “Great Firewall of China.”

“No one is suggesting that we separate ourselves from the whole world and use [online] gateways as is done in China”, Aleksandr Khinshtein, chairman of the State Duma’s Information and Communications Policy Committee, said last month at the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum. “I’m confident that won’t happen for a variety of reasons.”

Executives who spoke to RBK noted, however, that many Russian businesspeople believed the West was unlikely to block payment processing systems or Russian banks’ access to SWIFT, which ended up happening last year.

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