Russian censor blocks Navalny's website

Violet Powell
February 16, 2018

Russian authorities on Thursday blocked the website of a challenger to President Vladimir Putin with roughly a month to go before the country's election, Reuters reported.

Instagram has blocked posts in Russian Federation relating to corruption claims made by the country's most prominent opposition leader.

As ISPs in Russian Federation cannot censor specific posts, this could result in a total blockage of YouTube and Instagram in the country.

Russian Federation may block both YouTube and Instagram after videos showing oligarch Oleg Deripaska were uploaded to the social media sites.

According to Navalny, the video shot by Rybka shows her, Deripaska, and Prikhodko talking about how the deputy prime minister met Victoria Nuland, at the time the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs and a frequent critic of Russian Federation.

Roskomnadzor, the Russian media watchdog, warned YouTube to take down seven videos and Instagram to remove 14 posts on Saturday (February 10) within three business days.

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The video also claims to have proof of the pair discussing U.S. relations - a month after Paul Manafort, at the time a Trump campaign manager, allegedly offered the oligarch private briefings on Donald Trump's campaign. He also quoted from her book "A Journal: How to Seduce a Billionaire" - in which, according to Navalny, Rybka refers to Deripaska as "Ruslan" and Prikhodko as "Papa".

Miss Rybka posted several videos in 2016 showing Deripaska on his yacht talking with Deputy Prime minister Prikhodko.

Navalny has called for a boycott of Russia's Mar 18 presidential election after he was barred from running over a criminal conviction he says was politically motivated. "Mr. Deripaska's claim is to protect his right for privacy and has nothing to do with any political struggle between Mr. Navalny and his political opponents", the spokesman said in an emailed statement. Her YouTube videos about relations with Deripaska were uploaded around that time, too.

First of all, while Prikhodko told RBC that he himself would not be pursuing Navalny legally, because "it is enough that others are doing that", Deripaska filed the lawsuit the next day. "Since not all internet service providers in Russian Federation are able to cut access to individual web pages, they may be forced to block YouTube and Instagram if the companies fail to comply with the Roskomnadzor order".

A member of Navalny's team posted a screen shot of a message the team allegedly received from YouTube and Google, demanding that he take down one of the videos where he discusses the allegedly corrupt dealings. It also demanded that YouTube remove the Navalny clip.

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