With Russian TV networks under government control and most newspapers and radio stations under tight Kremlin screws, the internet was supposed to be Russia’s last bastion of free speech. But late last week, it became clear that the Kremlin might have other plans for it.
Last Friday, February 22, site administrators at the popular muckraking news aggregate site compromat.ru learned that their site was being blocked by about a half dozen Russian internet providers. The companies (which include big Russian telecom names like Rostelecom, MegaFon, Skylink and Transtelecom, among others) didn’t notify their clients about the blockage.
Instead, they used a common firewall technique known as a “black hole” in which requests to access a site’s IP addresses are silently dropped, making it look like some sort of weird computer connection glitch.