Banning Russian sites will be costly, warns Ukrainian internet expert

25 May 2017

The chairman of the Internet Association of Ukraine, Alexander Fediyenko, has said that it would take around two years and cost roughly USD1 billion for Ukraine to enact proposals to block access to all Russian websites. Earlier this month, Ukraine’s president Petro Poroshenko signed a decree imposing sanctions on a list of Russian media-related companies, including blocking access to popular Russian websites including social media sites VKontakte (VK) and Odnoklassniki, the service and search engine Yandex. Mobile network operators Kyivstar, Lifecell and MTS Ukraine (Vodafone Ukraine) later confirmed that they had begun technical procedures to block user access to the Russian websites. According to Fediyenko, quoted in a 112.Ukraine TV channel broadcast: ‘Speaking about the president’s current decree, it should be implemented when it comes into force. Speaking about further actions [i.e. a wider ban on Russian websites], they would take a year or two, maybe even more, and about USD1 billion from the state.’ He added that a total ban is possible, but users are likely to find ways to bypass it.

Under the recent decree, Russian broadcasters including TV Center, NTV-Plus, TVN, Digital Television, National Media Group and Ren TV are also banned from operating in Ukraine for three years, whilst RTR Planeta, Russia 24, First Channel. Global Network and NTV are banned for one year. Various individuals in the Russian media sector were also banned from entering Ukraine.

Ukraine, Kyivstar, Lifecell (Ukraine), Vodafone Ukraine