In an effort to stifle any public opinion that isn't fawning or shows viewpoints the Kremlin doesn't want the average Russian to see, the Russian government is going to try to ban virtual private networks (VPNs). According to a report from Russia's RIA (H/T to Fudzilla), The regime wants to ban VPNs from March 1.
As the war in Ukraine shows little sign of ending any time soon, pressure mounts inside Russia. Citizens seek access to information that doesn't come from Putin and his sycophants. RIA refers to statements made by Russian senator Artem Sheikin as saying that Russia's telecom regulator Roskomnadzor has been directed to block VPNs that allow access to banned material.
Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are examples of sites banned under Russia's Extremist law, but still accessible via a VPN.
VPN bans now appear to be the plan to combat access to these sites, but implementing a ban is easier said than done. Even China, which is famous for its Great Firewall, hasn't been able to stamp out VPN usage. In fact our sister site Tom's Guide even manages a page detailing the best VPNs to use in China. If China can't get rid of VPNs, how will a kleptocracy like Russia be able to manage it?
It's difficult to see how the Russia government will be able to successfully achieve its goal. Russia does have a very talented base of software developers, but something on the scale of a nationwide VPN ban will require a lot of time, effort, and rubles. Throwing money at it won't be enough.
Russia will surely need Chinese help anyway. Other than perhaps the North Koreans, no country knows more on how to go about firewalling a whole country. It'll be a test for that "Friendship without limits". Here, have some Russian oil on the cheap, and send over a few experienced censorware coders in return.