Published: Tue, February 12, 2019
IT | By Lester Massey

The Great Russian Firewall: Putin to unplug his country from the internet

The Great Russian Firewall: Putin to unplug his country from the internet

The planned unplugging is part of a cyber war-gaming exercise to make sure Russian Federation can still operate even if it is disconnected from outside its borders.

The move comes after a law was passed in the Kremlin previous year that ordered changes to be made so that Russian Federation could operate independently on the net, should the need arise.

A date for the test has not been set, but is supposed to happen before April 1, according to a law introduced past year. It requires Russian ISPs to ensure they can continue to function even if disconnected by a foreign aggressor.

Russia's response comes as North Atlantic Treaty Organisation countries announced several times that they were mulling a stronger response to cyber attacks, of which Russian Federation is constantly accused of carrying out.

The measures outlined in the law include Russian Federation building its own version of the net's address system, known as DNS, so it can operate if links to these internationally-located servers are cut. None of the 12 independent organizations that manage these servers are in Russian Federation, the BBC notes, but copies of the core address books are, so Russian Federation could stay connected in an emergency. However many copies of the net's core address book do already exist inside Russian Federation suggesting its net systems could keep working even if punitive action was taken to cut it off.


The Russian government has agreed to foot the bill and to cover the costs of ISPs modifying their infrastructure and installing new servers for redirecting traffic towards Roskomnazor's approved exchange point.

Russian Federation is planning to temporarily cut off internet access throughout the entire country as it prepares for potential cyber warfare.

The plan is also believed to be part of an effort to set up a mass censorship system akin to that seen in China, the report added.

Russian news organisations reported that the nation's ISPs are broadly backing the aims of the draft law but are divided on how to do it.

While Russia has deftly used the internet to advance its own interests, it is apparently concerned about other countries deploying its own tactics, so it is preparing to "disconnect" from the internet, ZDNet reports.

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