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Russia gives up and unblocks Telegram

Source: Roskomnadzor

Russia’s federal censor, Roskomnadzor, announced on Thursday that it is lifting restrictions on access to the messaging platform Telegram. In a statement shared online, the agency says an agreement was reached with federal prosecutors to unblock the platform.

“We commend the readiness expressed by Telegram’s founder [Pavel Durov] to combat terrorism and extremism,” Roskomnadzor explained.

On June 4, Pavel Durov urged the Russian authorities to unblock Telegram and allow the network’s “30 million users in Russia to use the service more comfortably.” A week later, lawmakers introduced draft legislation that would have unblocked Telegram in Russia.

The Russian authorities have formally blocked Telegram since April 13, 2018, following the network’s refusal to surrender encryption keys to the Federal Security Service. Over the past two years, Roskomnadzor has blocked millions of IP addresses in a losing game of cat-and-mouse, as Telegram has used various tactics to circumvent Russian censorship. The authorities were never able to restrict Russians’ access to Telegram significantly. 

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