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How Meduza is preparing for full Internet censorship in Russia

Source: Meduza

Against the backdrop of Russia’s upcoming presidential elections and protests over opposition politician Alexey Navalny’s murder, the Russian authorities may decide that blocking off the Internet completely is their safest option. Millions of Meduza’s readers live in Russia and rely on our reporting for accurate news about the world. Here’s what we think might happen and how we’re preparing ourselves.

Controlling the Internet

Over the past few months, the Russian authorities have been testing out new methods of “filtering” and restricting Internet access in Russia. Russian Telegram and WhatsApp users have been reporting outages, and there’s an ongoing crackdown on VPN services. During Alexey Navalny’s funeral, law enforcement resorted to its crudest method: turning off high-speed mobile data. Hackers have also been targeting independent media outlets and activists ever since Navalny’s murder. Meduza is currently facing the most intense cyberattack campaign in its history.

This all looks very alarming. But we fear the Russian authorities might go even further and fully censor the Internet if they decide it’s safer for them. At the very least, this could happen around the elections or immediately afterwards. We have to be prepared for this eventuality.

What could happen

We expect the authorities may turn off or slow down the Internet in places where large crowds are gathering. Telegram, WhatsApp, and YouTube might stop working, and app stores may stop functioning. Most VPNs will be blocked. And of course, Kremlin-affiliated hackers will use various tactics, such as DDoS attacks, to try to disable the websites of independent media outlets, including Meduza.

If this happens, Meduza will immediately launch an SOS newsletter (in Russian). We’ll still be able to send news to our readers in Russia via email, even if everything else is blocked.

Your help can be the bridge to hope for many in Russia. Join Meduza in its mission to challenge censorship with the truth. Donate today.

How it works

For security reasons, the SOS newsletter won’t come from Meduza’s domain. We’ll only launch it if absolutely necessary — in other words, if the Russian authorities start to disable or slow down the Internet. It will be in the form of a news digest, with only the most important, urgent information.

Even under the most severe Internet restrictions, email should continue to function, and it won’t be possible for the Russian authorities to effectively filter it.

Unfortunately, the SOS newsletter may be needed even after the elections. There are no signs that the situation in Russia will improve in the near future. But whatever happens, we’re prepared. We won’t let the Russian authorities stop us from bringing our readers the truth.

If you are in Russia, subscribe to the SOS newsletter here.
Attacks against Meduza

Meduza is facing the most intense cyberattack campaign in its history

Attacks against Meduza

Meduza is facing the most intense cyberattack campaign in its history

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