The Russian authorities are not planning to cut the country off the worldwide web, but, on the contrary, are looking at measures in case the West tries to block Internet access for Russia, Russian Communications Minister Nikolai Nikiforov said on Friday.
“We are preparing an action plan. We are looking at various options how to ensure that internet access was not cut off whatever our partners might do,” he said.
He said that his ministry’s joint exercises with the Russian defence ministry and the Federal Security Service had been necessitated by attempts to switch Russia off various networks, including those serving bank cards. He also cited as a reason the European Parliament’s plans to switch Russia off the SWIFT system.
“In these conditions, we looked at scenarios when our esteemed partners suddenly decide to block internet access for Russia. Russia is a great country and cannot afford that,” Nikiforov said, adding that it was planned to work on a number of technical aspects to prevent switching the Russian segment off the worldwide web. These measures, in his words, would require no considerable funds.
“Regrettable, some components of the infrastructure are not located in Russia and are administered from outside,” he said.
The full separation of Russian segment of Internet, known as Runet, from the global network is impossible both due to technical and political reasons, experts told ITAR-TASS on Friday.
The chief of Safe Internet League, Denis Davydov, hinted on Friday that such danger exists as the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), which oversees global IP address allocation, is directly subordinated to the US Department of Commerce.
Alexey Salnikov, the deputy director of the Information Security Institute at the Moscow State University, has rejected this possibility. “ICANN is unlikely to have technical possibilities to fully cut off one or several segments from the global Internet network,” he said on Friday. “The structure of the Internet envisages that if any provider shuts off its networking equipment, the traffic will go through another provider,” Salnikov explained.
The coordinator at Safer Internet Center in Russia, Urvan Parfentyev, said there have been no such precedents when countries were cut off the Internet and this could result in further political risks for the United States. “A huge amount of program and technical infrastructure of the Internet is within the US jurisdiction and may be used in the US interests. If any national domain is cut off, this will prove that supporters of the idea that the Internet issues should be managed by the United Nations are right,” he said.
The Vedomosti newspaper reported that Russia’s Security Council, chaired by President Vladimir Putin, is due to discuss on Monday ways in which Russia could separate itself from the Internet in case of an emergency.