Written by: Matthew Kaufman
Perhaps it should not surprise us with all that is going on in Russia, but Putin is bringing in the reigns. The internet has become an open source for free speech and open opinions which has brought restrictions down on even the most powerful of governments. In America, free speech molds our leaders into what we ask them to be, but in a country like Russia, it began to shed some hard light on Putin.
With the volatile condition in Ukraine, some controversial opinion websites began writing opposing articles to Putin’s actions. On Thursday, Putin ordered Russian Internet service providers to block access to these free-speaking websites. The main figures of Russian government opposition were Alexei Navalny and chess champion Garry Kasparov, who ran the website kasparov.ru. Other websites included in the ban were Grani.ru and Ej.ru.
“These sites contain incitement to illegal activity and participation in public events held in violation of the established order,” the agency said.
The legal basis for blocking Navalny’s blog was for a violation of the terms of a house arrest. The law that cited to allow censorship of the websites was approved in 2012 and was meant to censor content that the government found illegal or harmful to children. With a front of public security, the Russian government tightens its grip on the control of people’s opinion.
“We are especially concerned about the censorship of independent news and opposing political views, which are essential to a thriving civil society.” -The Electronic Freedom Foundation
The Electronic Freedom Foundation expressed its concern that this blatant censorship violates the right to freedom of expression found in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Russia maintains its stance that the websites are compromising public safety. It is more likely that they are creating a general consensus of unrest and opposition to government actions.
Russian citizens can still access the webpages using the Tor browser. The Tor project is devoted to allowing users to browse the Internet anonymously without restriction. It may only be a matter of time until this method is choked out.