Putin's Russia - On a Path to Cyber Sovereignty?

93 Pages Posted: 1 Feb 2018

Date Written: January 24, 2014


At the end of 2011, thousands of Moscow citizens protested against the December 4 election results for the 450-member Russian State Duma, the lower legislative chamber.

For several years prior to 2011, Russians with access to the Internet had been engaged in online discussions about their discontent with the ‘power vertical’ regime and its inability to address many social problems, - the most acute of which was rampant corruption. For the first time in Russian history, politically engaged citizens used the Internet and social media to mount large-scale and highly successful protests. In a country in which media is highly censored, the Moscow protests pointed directly to the crucial role of a free Internet in mobilizing the middle class. Three years since the protests broke onto the streets, public discontent with the domestic affairs has not decreased, and Internet usage in Russian society has grown further.

Analyzing Russia’s sovereign democracy regime this paper draws a conclusion that in the medium term future the Kremlin control over the Internet is bound to intensify. Examining the most recent changes in the Russian legal systems as far as the freedom of the Internet is concerned it becomes evident that the events in the Arab world and the unrest at home in 2011 has put the Kremlin on a road towards greater Internet control. Events in the Ukraine and Snowden revelations are accelerating the process as well as are wining more Russians to the Kremlin way of thinking.

Finally this paper attempts to forecast possible actions by the Russian government towards the Internet freedom in the years leading to the Duma elections in 2016 and the Presidential elections in 2018.

Keywords: Russia, Putin, Internet, cyber

JEL Classification: Z38

Suggested Citation

Freiberg, Phillip, Putin's Russia - On a Path to Cyber Sovereignty? (January 24, 2014). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3108579 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3108579

Phillip Freiberg (Contact Author)

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