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Russians must have access to all websites provided the media abide by law — Kremlin

The spokesman commented on the move by the media watchdog to slow down and potentially block access to certain social networks

MOSCOW, March 10. /TASS/. Russian citizens must have access to all online resources, but those websites must comply with Russian laws, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, commenting on the move by the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media on slowing down and potentially blocking access to certain social networks.

"Of course, Russian citizens should have access to all global [online] resources," the spokesman told journalists Wednesday. "This is the main goal."

He added that the "supervisory role is to make all these resources act within the legal framework and comply with the laws and legitimate demands of Russian agencies on Russian territory."

Russia’s measures obliging foreign websites to adhere to Russian laws are completely justified, the spokesman stressed. "No one wants to block anything," the spokesman said. "However, applying measures to force these companies to adhere to our laws is completely justified."

When asked whether a situation similar to the blocking of the Telegram messenger that still remained accessible to users can repeat itself, Peskov noted: "Roskomnadzor [the Russian Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media] obtained the necessary experience, and it must be considering this experience in its work." "Naturally, effective measures should be applied to force these companies to adhere to the lawful demands of our bodies," the spokesman concluded.

He stressed that the requirements for Internet companies are a must on Russian territory. "We can’t have any companies on our territory outside of the legal field," Peskov said. "I suppose it is in everyone’s interests for things to be this way."

On Wednesday, the federal agency took measures to initially decelerate Twitter’s loading speed by 100% on mobile gadgets and 50% on desktop devices nationwide due to the social network’s violation of Russia’s legislation.

The regulator specified that as of March 10, the social network had not removed 3,168 pieces of content containing proscribed information. It concerns tweets with information on ways of committing suicide, incitement to commit suicide, as well as child pornography and information about methods of making and using drugs. The regulator sent over 28,000 initial and repeated requests to remove these illegal links and publications. The agency added that it may block Twitter on the territory of the Russian Federation if the tech giant continues to shrug off compliance with Russian legislation to remove prohibited content.

On February 1, a law came into force in Russia, which obliges social networks to independently identify and block prohibited content. Social networks are required to take immediate action to restrict access to such prohibited information. If it is not possible to independently assess content within 24 hours, the administration of the social network must send the data to the federal media and communications watchdog.