The Telegram ban: How censorship “made in Russia” faces a global Internet

  • Ksenia Ermoshina French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS)
  • Francesca Musiani French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS)

Abstract

When, in April 2018, the Russian Internet watchdog Roskomnadzor orders to block Telegram — the country’s most popular messenger — Internet users in the country respond with a diverse set of digital resistance tactics, including obfuscation and circumvention protocols, proxies, virtual private networks, and full-fledged hacks. This article analyzes the “Telegram ban” and its ramifications, understanding it as a socio-technical controversy that unveils the tensions between the governmental narrative of a “sovereign Internet” and multiple infrastructure-based battles of resistance, critique and circumvention. We show how, in the context of a Russian Internet which is heavily entwined with and dependent from foreign and global infrastructures, a number of bottom-up, infrastructure-based digital resistances are able to emerge and thrive despite the strategy of effective centralised management that the Russian government seeks to present to the world as its own.

Author Biographies

Ksenia Ermoshina, French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS)

Associate Research Professor at the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) at the Centre for Internet and Society

Francesca Musiani, French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS)

Associate Research Professor at the French National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS) and Deputy Director of its Centre for Internet and Society

Published
2021-04-21
How to Cite
Ermoshina, K., & Musiani, F. (2021). The Telegram ban: How censorship “made in Russia” faces a global Internet. First Monday, 26(5). https://doi.org/10.5210/fm.v26i5.11704
Section
Articles