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Kremlin: Russian authorities not blocking Runet, but protecting it from shutdown

The bills are designed to ensure Internet’s viability amid potential aggressive steps in cyber space against Russia, the Kremlin spokesman said

MOSCOW, March 11. /TASS/. Participants of Sunday’s rally for Internet freedom in Moscow are mistaken when saying that the country’s authorities seek restrictions against the global network in Russia, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Monday.

"Everyone is calling for Internet freedom <…>, that’s why as far as Internet freedom is concerned, the position of this event’s participants can be backed. But we cannot support their misunderstanding and deception that the passed bills are somehow aimed at limiting Internet freedom. On the contrary, they are designed to ensure Internet’s viability amid potential aggressive steps in cyber space against our country," Peskov stressed.

The Kremlin spokesman said he saw one of the rally participants saying on TV that Russia’s authorities are allegedly "seeking to press the button and cut the country off from the Internet." "This is absolutely a deception. However, this participant somehow is not afraid that someone overseas will press this button and disconnect him from the Internet, but this is a real reason for fears," he noted. The steps of legislators and authorities "are aimed at securing our citizens from such shutdowns in case of this situation," Peskov said.

Earlier, the Russian Interior Ministry’s press service said the rally for free Internet drew nearly 6,500 people on downtown Moscow’s Academician Sakharov Avenue on Sunday.

On February 12, Russia’s lower house of parliament, the State Duma, passed in the first reading a bill on a stable work of the Russian Internet, known as Runet. The authors of this initiative suggested cutting the volume of data, exchanged by Russian users, and which is sent abroad. The operators may be required to install technical tools on communications networks, which would identify the source of this transmitted traffic.