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Kremlin comments on dispute between Telegram founder and telecom watchdog

The Russian telecom watchdog earlier requested Telegram messenger founder Pavel Durov to provide data about Telegram’s managing company

MOSCOW, June 26. /TASS/. Russian Presidential Spokesman Dmitry Peskov has declined to comment on the dispute between Telegram messenger founder Pavel Durov and Russia’s telecom watchdog Roskomnadzor.

"I would like to point out that this is not in our competence, it is (head of Roskomnadzor Alexander) Zharov who tackles the issues that concern regulations and the current legislation," Peskov told reporters.

When asked what messenger the Kremlin press service would use if Telegram got blocked, Peskov said: "we will switch to another, we’ll see which one is the best, there are some to choose from, as there is competition in this sphere."

The Kremlin spokesman also declined to comment on Durov’s statement in which he said that Roskomnadzor’s demands ran contrary to the article of the Russian Constitution concerning correspondence privacy. According to Telegram founder, it is impossible to provide decryption keys to the special services as these keys are only available on the users’ devices.

"This issue is not for us to deal with," the Russian presidential spokesman said.

Head of the Russian telecom watchdog Roskomnadzor Alexander Zharov earlier personally requested that Durov provide data about Telegram’s managing company so that it could be included in the information disseminator register as it should be done in accordance with the Russian legislation. In case Telegram does not provide this data in due time, the messenger will be blocked in Russia until the information is provided.

According to Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), members of international terrorist organizations active in Russia use Telegram the most. In particular, those involved in the April 3 terrorist attack on the St. Petersburg metro were Telegram users.