Russia joins international effort to limit Internet freedom; pushing bill with similarities to SOPA, China’s firewall

Two months after Vladimir Putin once again assumed the post of Russian president, the long-feared crackdown on his critics appears to have begun. The internet bill due to be considered by parliament on Wednesday is, say activists, the latest sign of growing repression of civil freedom in Russia.

The bill calls for the creation of a federal website “nolist”. Internet providers and site owners would be forced to shut down any websites on this list. According to Wikipedia authors on Tuesday, the bill will “lead to the creation of a Russian analogue to China’s great firewall”.

The bill’s backers in Putin’s United Russia party argue that the amendments to the country’s information legislation are aimed at child pornography and sites that promote drug use and teen suicide.

But critics, including the Russian-language Wikipedia, say the legislation could be used to boost government censorship over the internet.

In protest, the Russian-language Wikipedia site shut down for 24 hours on Tuesday. The Wikipedia logo was crossed out with a black rectangle, and the words “imagine a world without free knowledge” appeared underneath.

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Photo credit: Mike Licht,