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‘Welcome to 1984’ How the most popular Telegram channels in Russia are responding to the government’s decision to block the messenger

Meduza

StalinGulag (240,000 subscribers)

This Russian guy, Pavel Durov, created a product that’s in demand all over the world. This should be a real victory: it’s not another tired, kitchen-table phony stolen from abroad, but a genuinely needed service. And what does the Russian state do? It destroys it. It blocks it. It bans it. It throws all the might of its police infrastructure into trampling [Russia’s] one technological achievement in recent history. Don’t let this gray scum destroy life. We’ve got to live! Install a VPN and set up proxies! Tell your friends! Write about it on social media! This isn’t empty talk — it’s the harsh reality: VPN is how you’ll stay sane in this era of fucking insanity.

Mash (279,000 subscribers)

And now for something very, very serious. We love you all very much here, and we really, really don’t want to lose any of you. And we don’t want any of you to lose us. We’ll continue working here, but [we’re available] on other platforms for you, also. [...]

MDK (264,000 subscribers)

Install VPN!

Ex-Girlfriend (64,000 subscribers)

I can gaze endlessly at three things: a fire, flowing water, and at how my ex-boyfriend convulsively tries to bypass the block on Telegram, so he doesn’t miss any of my messages. 😂

Don’t worry, cutie! Unlike you, Durov doesn’t give up so easily. 😜

Transformer (173,000 subscribers)

I consider it to be a weak position to transition to undeveloped platforms. We’d be better off informing people about how to use the best messenger in the world, than folding our hands and building an audience with weaker products.

That’s how we’ll win.

Cello Case (143,000 subscribers)

Cello Case told the magazine RBC that the blocking of Telegram in Russia creates a serious advantage for WhatsApp, Facebook, and other American services, which collect data from Russian citizens. This is a victory for the U.S. intelligence community. Cello Case considers Roskomnadzor head Alexander Zharov to be a lobbyist for Facebook. Zharov says he isn’t reviewing Facebook and won’t block it because every six months he sits down with the managers of the American shareholders and discusses ‘all Russian legislation.’” [...]

Alexey Venediktov (56,000 subscribers)

My dear 56,162 subscribers, I will continue to publish my Telegram channel right here. And you'll find a way to read it. I’ll be watching. 👼

Metodichka (46,000 subscribers)

[...] If it’s hard now to target Islamists on Telegram, but still possible (more than a few terrorist attacks have been prevented, thanks to Durov’s messenger), then blocking it will make such [police] work simply impossible. That’s not because terrorists will leave Telegram, but because from now on they will start using VPN and Tor. And the Islamist groups and their supporters who didn’t know about these things before will now not only find out about them, but they’ll start learning to use them. And they won’t only be using these tools when signing on to Telegram.

In other words, with this decision, the FSB, Roskomnadzor, and Moscow’s Tagansky District Court are raising the Internet literacy of not only ordinary civilians, but also those who want to kill these people in mass. Under these circumstances, catching terrorists and preventing terrorist attacks will become 10 times harder. Is this stupidity or treason? Most likely the former. [...]

Thoughts-NonThoughts (39,000 subscribers)

Well, welcome to 1984: censorship, bans, and searches for internal enemies. Free people are connecting to VPN and proxy servers. You can find information about this in our pinned post. Go download Zenmate and TunnelBear (you’ll have to pay a little bit), and stay with us. We’re sticking around. Now our posts will be harsher and angrier. We’re outlaws, after all. ✌️

Ilya Varlamov (105,000 subscribers)

[...] For me, Telegram is my main communication platform, and I intend to keep it that way. I’m confident that most of my contacts will consider their digital hygiene and set up protections on their gadgets and continue to communicate here freely.

And remember: no bastard has the right to stick his nose into your private life. If somebody tries installing a security camera in your bedroom on the pretext of guarding your personal safety, don’t hesitate to tell him to fuck off. Yes, now we’ve got to put bars on the windows — it’s a small inconvenience, but now no bastard will be climbing in through the window.

Translations by Kevin Rothrock