Russia’s former president Dmitry Medvedev on Monday said the country is “legally and technologically” ready to disconnect from the global internet if needed.

In 2019, Russia passed a law for the development of “sovereign internet” that gives the country the ability to isolate its internet from the global web. Rights activists, however, fear the law is designed to tighten government control of cyberspace and stifle free speech.

Medvedev, who is currently deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council, said that the United States retains “key rights of control” to the internet, which could result in Russia being disconnected from the global internet “if something extraordinary happens”.

“We even had to create our own system for transmitting information so that we can exchange electronic messages if this suddenly happens”, Medvedev said.

His comments come amid mass protests over the detention of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny. Russia’s media watchdog Roskomnadzor last month threatened social media networks with fines if they do not delete content inciting minors to participate in the demonstrations.

Medvedev stressed however, that he did not see any reason for Russia to isolate its internet from the global web yet.


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