Russia's War for Control of Global Internet Governance

24 Pages Posted: 9 Jun 2022

Date Written: May 25, 2022


The Russian government has long viewed the Internet differently than Western, liberal-democracies—and Russia’s vision is increasingly aimed at undermining the Internet’s diffuse model of cooperative nongovernmental actors in favor of a more nation-state-controlled governance model. This report examines Moscow’s efforts to move Internet governance processes and authorities to the UN’s information and communications technologies agency, the International Telecommunication Union, instead of permitting multistakeholder bodies that include civil society, nonprofits, and corporations to have a major role. This report draws on Russian primary-source documents and media, ITU documents, and other sources to describe and analyze Russia’s strategic view of the Internet, Russia’s historical efforts in the ITU, and Russia’s campaign for its candidate to take over the ITU secretary-general position in September 2022. The report details and analyzes the Russia-China relationship regarding Internet governance developments and the Russia-Ukraine War’s potential impact on those plans. It concludes with key takeaways and factors that global and open Internet supporters should watch going forward.

Keywords: Russia, internet, United Nations, ITU, governance, technology, standards, China, ICANN, IETF, RIRS

Suggested Citation

Sherman, Justin, Russia's War for Control of Global Internet Governance (May 25, 2022). Available at SSRN: or

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