Internet Shutdowns

Russian Federation (the)

February 26, 2022 00:00 (124 days) - active

Affected services

Twitter, Facebook, News Outlets

Media coverage

  • https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/mar/04/russia-completely-blocks-access-to-facebook-and-twitter

 

Related blog posts

We are publishing rolling updates on the situation of the Internet in Russia on: https://pulse.internetsociety.org/blog/internet-perspectives-ukraine-and-russia

 

 

 

Data and Analysis

Starting from 26th February 2022, OONI data collected from Russia started to show that twitter.com was inaccessible on many networks in the country, as illustrated below.

Chart: OONI data on the testing of twitter.com on multiple networks in Russia between February 2022 to April 2022, https://explorer.ooni.org/chart/mat?probe_cc=RU&test_name=web_connectivity&domain=twitter.com&since=2022-02-01&until=2022-04-22&axis_x=measurement_start_day 

OONI data analysis suggests that access to twitter.com was throttled in Russia between 26th February 2022 to 4th March 2022. As the throttling of twitter.com seems to have stopped across all ISPs in Russia at the same time (~08:00 on 4th March 2022 UTC), it appears to have been centralized. Moreover, interference to twitter.com appears to have changed from throttling to blocking (through the injection of a RST packet) on 4th March 2022.

Starting from 3rd March 2022, OONI data shows the blocking of facebook.com on multiple networks in Russia, where connection resets are observed (similarly to the blocking of Twitter). The following chart aggregates OONI measurement coverage from Russia, showing that the blocking of facebook.com started several days after the blocking of twitter.com.

Chart: OONI data on the testing of twitter.com and www.facebook.com on multiple networks in Russia between February 2022 to April 2022, https://explorer.ooni.org/chart/mat?probe_cc=RU&test_name=web_connectivity&since=2022-02-01&until=2022-04-22&axis_x=measurement_start_day&axis_y=domain 

On 13th March 2022, some ISPs in Russia started to block access to www.instagram.com as well, as illustrated through the following chart. 

Chart: OONI data on the testing of www.instagram.com, twitter.com and www.facebook.com on multiple networks in Russia between February 2022 to April 2022, https://explorer.ooni.org/chart/mat?probe_cc=RU&test_name=web_connectivity&since=2022-02-01&until=2022-04-22&axis_x=measurement_start_day&axis_y=domain 

As is evident from the above chart, all three social media platforms remain blocked on multiple networks in Russia (but remain accessible on a few networks). 

Beyond social media platforms, OONI data also shows that multiple ISPs in Russia started blocking access to independent Russian news media websites (such as Dozhd and New Times) and foreign news media websites (such as BBC, Deutsche Welle, Russian version of Voice of America, and Russian service of Radio Liberty), as summarized through the following chart.

Chart: Blocking of news media websites in Russia based on OONI measurements (collected between February to March 2022), https://explorer.ooni.org/chart/mat?probe_cc=RU&test_name=web_connectivity&category_code=NEWS&since=2022-02-02&until=2022-03-05&axis_x=measurement_start_day&axis_y=input  

On 17th April 2022, OONI data shows that ISPs in Russia also started blocking access to the Human Rights Watch website (hrw.org).

Chart: OONI data on the testing of www.hrw.org on multiple networks in Russia between March 2022 to April 2022, https://explorer.ooni.org/chart/mat?probe_cc=RU&test_name=web_connectivity&domain=www.hrw.org&since=2022-03-15&until=2022-04-22&axis_x=measurement_start_day 

Overall, OONI data collected from Russia shows that the implementation of internet censorship is decentralized. Every ISP in Russia is responsible for implementing government-mandated blocks independently. As a result, we observe variance in how internet censorship is implemented across Russia, as blocks are not implemented on all networks in the country, and different ISPs adopt different censorship techniques. Some ISPs implement blocks through the use of multiple techniques at the same time, making circumvention harder.


Learn more through OONI’s research report.