The government of Russian president Vladimir Putin has announced its plans to test a fully independent domestic internet, cut off from the global web. Initially, the Russian domestic internet will be temporary, purportedly to test the country’s own cyberdefense capabilities. But many see it as a big move closer to something like China’s Great Firewall, blocking content the government sees as threatening its ability to control the conversation.
The bigger question is around whether Russia’s can be successful building a first-rate system based on alternative pathways, with the ability to turn them on and off. Andrew Sullivan, CEO of Internet Society, says: “It represents a failure of their network. It’s a new design that has made the Russian portion of the internet less reliable.”