The Bellingcat investigative journalist outlined this plan in a presentation to this year’s Lennart Meri Conference in Tallinn saying he has sources on this within the Russian special services (youtube.com and ehorussia.com).
Grozev said that, within two years, Moscow will have the capacity to slow down transmission speeds to 24 kilobytes per second, returning users to the situation they faced in the 1990s when they used dial-up services. Most Western sites are so picture-heavy now that such a slowdown would lead most Russians to avoid using them.
While the Russian foreign ministry dismissed the Tallinn forum as a group of “rabid Russophobes,” Moscow officials continued to work at the very same time in the very direction Grozev described, blocking six VPN services in Russia, services that users employ to prevent those in political police monitoring the Internet from getting their names.
Many Western and some Russian analysts have suggested that Moscow can’t technically block the Internet unless it took steps that would have such a negative impact on the economy that even the Kremlin wouldn’t be prepared to go that far. But a slowdown of the kind Grozev mentions is something they could live with.
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