As Vladimir Putin pushes ahead with a plan to create a domestic internet he can control, his government is concentrating more regulatory authority in Roskomnadzor, the internet and media regulator, to make that happen.
A couple of weeks ago, several regulatory authorities were shifted to Roskomnadzor from the agency it is ostensibly part of: the Ministry of Digital Development, Communications, and Mass Media, or MinComSvyaz. Russian government officials are not yet clear whether Roskomnadzor will officially replace MinComSvyaz outright in its functions in regulating the internet or just take over more authorities—that would depend on subsequent decisions. And ultimately, how much it matters depends on other efforts pushed by Vladimir Putin to promote the economy’s “digitization” through 2025 and how Roskomnadzor will fit into that.
“The Ministry of Communications used to be the only agency that opposed the most odious legislative initiatives to regulate the network. With the current leadership, the Ministry will toe the official government line,” wrote one Russian journalist.