Russia May Be Building Its Own “Independent Internet”


Russia is reportedly considering to build its own "backup internet infrastructure" that will make the country less dependent on "western nations." During the October meeting of the Russian Security Council, the Council had asked the government to start the project of working on a backup domain name system that is not controlled by international organizations.

The Council had cited "the increased capabilities of western nations to conduct offensive operations in the informational space as well as the increased readiness to exercise these capabilities" that "pose a serious threat to Russia’s security." The reported backup system will be used by Russia and other BRICS member states - Brazil, India, China, and South Africa.

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"Independent internet" will protect Russia from "external influence"

According to the Russian news agency RT, the country may be worried of its dependence on the global infrastructure. However, it is also likely that this system will be used for offensive operations without causing disruptions locally. Russian President, Vladimir Putin, has set the date of August 1, 2018, to complete this "independent internet."

In a statement, Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov said that the move is to protect Russia "from possible external influence."

"We all know who the chief administrator of the global internet is. And due to its volatility, we have to think about how to ensure our national security."

The news comes after the country had tested its first backup DNS system in 2014, a move that was followed by a decision to route all Russian traffic locally. Russia and China have long argued that the United States has control over the Domain Name System, which they say it uses to tap global traffic. The control was later on handed over to ICANN, a not for profit organization.

Back in 2014 when the country first tested these plans, in response to questions over Russia disconnecting from the global internet, the Press Secretary, Peskov, had denied any such rumors. "Russia’s disconnection from the global internet is of course out of the question," he had said, adding that "recently, a fair share of unpredictability is present in the actions of our partners both in the US and the EU, and we must be prepared for any turn of events."

Many, however, suggest that Russia and China could potentially use it to disconnect in times of crisis, persecute dissidents, and to stay connected to key trading partners while they launch offensive operations. "There is a deep irony in Russia citing the increased capabilities of Western nations doing attacks in the informational space," technologist Peter Singer told DefenseOne.

"It is like the fake social media account of the pot calling the kettle fake."