Russia has reportedly blocked a number of news sites as well as those of individuals critical of Vladimir Putin.
According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), the sites blocked include those of news site Grani and the livejournal of Alexei Navalny, a popular anti-corruption fighter and chess master Garry Kasparov’s opposition information site kasparov.ru.
That the sites are blocked has been confirmed by Russia’s Prosecutor General, which says on its site that the “sites contain incitement to illegal activity and participation in public events held in violation of the established order” (Google Translate).
Kasparov took to Twitter to express his disappointment with the decision:
These are huge news sites, not political groups. Giant Echo of Moscow site now just gone. Grani, EJ, Navalny's blog, all blocked in Russia.
— Garry Kasparov (@Kasparov63) March 13, 2014
EFF reports that Kasporov’s site was contacted directly by the Russian government and told to shut down its servers. The fact that the site’s still visible however suggests that it has not complied and that it has only been blocked by certain ISPs.
Blocking the sites comes as the Putin-led Russian government faces fierce international criticism for its attempts to annex the Crimean region of Ukraine.
According to TechCrunch, Russia blocked over a dozen Ukranian activist websites earlier this month, many of which were protesting Russia’s intervention in the Crimea.
Image: Ana Paula Hirama (via Flickr).