May 27, 2022

Russian Officials Talk About Unplugging the Country from the Internet. But Is That Possible?

Featuring Samuel Bendett

Source: Defense One

Journalist Patrick Tucker

Russian officials are talking about cutting their country off from the internet amid the international and domestic backlash to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. But would the systems developed to enable this self-isolation actually work?

“The state must control this area completely. Of course, not from the point of view of restrictions or some kind of totalitarian control, but from the point of view of the realization of national interests," Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Thursday via the TASS state-media outlet.

Despite years of talk and research into essentially closing Russia off to all outside internet traffic, Zakharova said that “the ‘socket’ into which this ‘digital plug’ is plugged is located outside our homeland, very far away, and we do not control it.”

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Russia remains, for now, still very connected and increasingly vulnerable, especially as more and more Western technology companies shun the new pariah state.

“Russia's previous concerns about its dependence on imported technology and international processes for key domestic digital infrastructure are now in visceral focus as the Russian state is seeking to pivot to domestic technology to replace imported tech, while maintaining that Russia is not seeking to close itself off from the outside world,” said Samuel Bendett, an adjunct senior fellow at the Center for a New American Security and an adviser at the CNA Corporation. “Russia is looking to China and India for many IT solutions.”

Read the full story and more from Defense One.

Authors

  • Samuel Bendett

    Adjunct Senior Fellow, Technology and National Security Program

    > Samuel Bendett is an Adviser with CNA Strategy, Policy, Plans and Programs Center (SP3), where he is a member of the Russia Studies Program. His work involves research on...