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Russian internet includes only .ru and .su domain extensions

Internet is borderless, but national legislation is not. Under Russian law certain types of advertisement is forbidden for dissemination, including in Internet. Not all web-sites comply with requirements for ads. Therefore Russian authorities have rights to require restriction of access in a case if ad legislation is violated in relation to certain ad.

Forbidden advertisement includes also casino ads. Group of Russian online platforms, whose business are targeted to Russian audience, has filed inquiry to Russian Federal antitrust service (FAS) accusing YouTube of violation Russian ad law. According to online platforms, there is ad of online casino on YouTube. Online platforms believe the Russian text in this ad can serve as a proof that this ad is targeted to Russian audience.

Online platforms have asked the FAS to explain, who has authority to control over compliance with Russian law on ads in Internet. FAS has explained. According to FAS, internet is borderless and Russian segment of internet is “virtual territory of Russian Federation” and only .ru, .su and .рф domain extensions fall under the scope of Russian law on advertisement. Google’s YouTube registered in .com domain extension and therefore is not a part of Russian segment of internet, therefore “FAS has no authority to consider the question” asked by online platforms.

The FAS has underlined that main difference of internet is opportunity to receive access to information, published in countries other than Russia, from computer locating in Russia. The FAS can’t to consider whether ad on YouTube is in accordance with Russian law. Online platforms did not understand FAS’s official position, they are confused. They have to compete with YouTube in internal Russian market and they expect common approach to effective restriction provided in Russian law regardless of domain extensions.