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RBC research: approximately 65% of blocked web-sites in Russia still work

Russian law provides blocking of web-site if it contains information or content qualified as illegal under applicable legal norms. The “mechanisms” of blocking have been implemented successfully in Russia. So after blocking of web-site ordinary Internet-users in Russia are not able to visit such web-site.

But someone who uses special software or resides outside of Russia can visit web-site blocked in Russia if its operator did not cease to maintain it. In some cases operators of blocked web-sites have not ceased to maintain them. Sometimes blocking of web-sites in Russia makes inconvenience for surfing in Internet without any illegal intention or purpose.

According to research in 2016 there have been blocked a record number of web-sites in Russia. But more than half of them still work. Roskomnadzor reported about 87 thousands blocked sites. Almost 35 thousands remain in index of blocked sites because their operators or owners have not deleted illegal content or information. The quantity of blocked sites increases.

But what reasons to maintain a web-site blocked in Russia? If there is no opportunity for ordinary internet-users to visit such website, why its owners or operators maintain it? There are few factors explaining this. First of all the main factor is an audience of web-site. If web-site intended for Russian audience, its owners of operators will do everything in order to comply with Russian law and to avoid its blocking.

But if the web-site is intended for different audience, including English speaking users or users residing outside of Russia, its owners of operators will consider what they could lose from blocking in Russia in first place. If their losses caused by the blocking in Russia will be covered by the benefits accrued from the other territories where the web-site is available they will not change its policy publication of content. In this case benefit means not only monetary consideration, but also a result which the owners of web-site intend to achieve.

There is an example with social network linkedin. It was blocked in Russia because its owners refused to keep certain information in Russia. Linkedin is blocked in Russia, but some people, residing in Russia, still visit it. This blocking makes inconvenience for business and communication but linkedin is available in other countries. Whether it will change its policy in internal rules only because of Russia? Most likely it will endeavour to find a compromise with Russian authorities.

There is other example of web-site blocked in Russia. Permanent blocking of this web-site caused decreasing of its traffic, but did not kill it. The site still works and operates. It makes money for its owners. And it is still famous despite the fact that many ordinary users don’t have access to it. Rutracker’s owners have registered other domains and made mirrors of original web-site. And its traffic is still impressive, for right holders at least.

The most part of IP addresses, indexing in Roskomnadzor’s “black list”, belongs to addresses allocated in USA. The “second place” belongs to Netherlands and the third place belongs to Germany.