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Russian regime increases its control over information space: think-tank

The Russian government is increasing its control over the information space, the US-based Institute for the Study of War (ISW) assessed on Monday.

In its latest analysis, the think-tank pointed to a draft law that Russia’s parliament may consider by the end of the year, stipulating that all websites using recommendation algorithms should introduce the option to completely or partially disable the technology.

Such algorithms are used by social networking sites to adjust content shown to users’ preferences.

#Russian-Occupied Areas Update:

Russian authorities are working to establish control over the information space in occupied territories and identify #Ukrainian partisans.

— ISW (@TheStudyofWar) November 20, 2022

As the ISW explained, the proposed draft law will require the owners of all sites and platforms to ensure the government’s ability to fully or partially block the participation of specific users.

According to the institute’s experts, it is an attempt to respond to the Kremlin’s ailment of being able to “adequately” present the war against Ukraine and to “establish a direct means of countering both internal and external sources of online dissent.”

“The Russian Federal State Security Service (FSB) additionally took steps to codify control over the information space and signed a decree on November 4 that approved a list of military and military-technical activities, which if received by foreign sources, can be used against the security of the Russian Federation,” ISW wrote.

The draft regulation, the think-tank continued, is also part of a broader attempt by the FSB to ban providing information about the army, which would also allow it to tighten control over Russian “war bloggers” discussing and criticising the way the war in Ukraine is being conducted.

As ISW assessed, “the Russian government is scrambling to take control of the information space as it is increasingly inundated by criticisms of the Russian military that are levied both internally and externally.”

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