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Kremlin to choose the most suitable messenger to replace Telegram

Peskov admitted that he cannot say yet which messenger will be used instead of Telegram
Russian President’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov  Mikhail Metzel/TASS
Russian President’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov
© Mikhail Metzel/TASS

MOSCOW, April 13. /TASS/. Kremlin has not decided yet what messenger it will use instead of Telegram to contact journalists and is not commenting on the court’s decision to block the messenger, the Russian President’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Friday.

"This is a court decision, I am not going to comment on it," the representative of the Kremlin said, answering questions from reporters.

He admitted that he cannot say yet which messenger will be used instead of Telegram.

"I do not know, we'll see. As soon as Telegram stops working, we'll switch to some other [messenger], "Peskov said. He added that one can count possible replacements on the fingers of one hand.

"We need to see. The one which is convenient, ensures speed and quality, combines the whole range of services will be the one we choose," he said.

Earlier on Friday, Moscow’s Tagansky court blocked access to the Telegram messenger in Russia over its failure to furnish keys to the Federal Security Service to decrypt user messages. The court satisfied the lawsuit of Russia’s telecom watchdog Roskomnadzor filed on April 6.

The judge said the court’s decision would be implemented immediately and the ban on access would be in force until the FSB’s demands were met.

Telegram said those demands would be impossible to implement since the keys were stored in the users’ devices.

In July 2017, Russia’s Federal Security Service, the FSB, demanded that Telegram provide the keys to decrypt user messages relying on the provisions of its own administrative order, which has established the procedure for providing the keys to it. Telegram’s top officials said that this requirement was impossible to meet technically and tried to challenge it in several courts but to no avail. On March 20, 2018, Russia’s Supreme Court rejected the company’s lawsuit.

After this court ruling, the Russian watchdog said the messaging service had 15 days to provide the required information to the country’s security agencies.