Internet Censorship in Russia
Russia censors internet access within its borders by means of several laws and mechanisms. One of the most significant is its centralized single register of banned URLs, domains and IP addresses. This denylist has been in place since 2012 and is administered by the telecoms watchdog Roskomnadzor. The list grows daily with entries from a number of other government agencies.
The entries on this register of banned sites are accessible via the online database reestr.rublacklist.net.
Since Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb 24, there have been over 8,000 additions to Russia’s internet denylist. Many of these domains were blocked because they hosted adult material or offered online gambling. However our analysis of blocked domains revealed that there were significant numbers of Ukrainian news sites banned in Russia since then, under order of the Office of the Prosecutor General.
It’s clear that the Kremlin wishes to control the narrative of its invasion and prevent the Russian people from accessing news reports from Ukrainian sources.
The Russian government is also blocking Russian news sites whose editorial stance is anti-war.
On March 2, the authorities blocked popular Moscow-based online retail marketplace TIU.ru that had replaced its homepage with anti-war content.
Similarly, Ukrainian streaming websites such as Takflix with prominent anti-war content are also being blocked.
The following day the Office of the Prosecutor General also began targeting major western European news sites, including the BBC and Deutsche Welle. In the early hours of Friday morning, March 4, it also blocked Meduza, the Russian- and English-language news site based in Latvia.
The Voice of America domain
golosameriki.com and an increasing number of the US-funded Radio Free Liberty network of local-language sites, including
idelreal.org are also now blocked in Russia.
Google News was blocked on March 24, according to Reuters, who cited Interfax and confirmed with Google that some Russian users were suffering connection issues. At the time of publication, there had been no official announcement by Roskomnadzor.
Independent Russian news sites are also increasingly blocked, even some of those who have publicly stated that they will abide by new laws preventing reporting on military matters, purportedly to prevent “fake news”.
Since the value of the rouble began to plummet as a result of the imposition of strict economic sanctions, Russian authorities have also begun to block foreign exchange and cryptocurrency platforms, albeit in scattershot fashion.
Amnesty International was the first international human rights organization to have its local language website blocked late on March 10. Roskomnadzor also blocked international investigative journalism website Bellingcat, which focuses on uncovering evidence of human rights abuses, on March 15.
Roskomnadzor also finally confirmed that Facebook and Twitter were officially blocked in Russia late on March 4 after throttling access to social media platforms over the course of the week. Users’ internet speeds when accessing these sites from Russian IP addresses was so slow as to render them unusable even if they were not officially banned at the time.
Instagram was initially banned on March 11, according to a Roskomnadzor announcement that cited Meta’s decision to allow calls for death to Russian troops on its platforms. The Russian authorities delayed actually blocking Instagram for 48 hours however to allow users “to transfer their photo and video materials to other social networks and notify their contacts and subscribers”.
As a result Russians are turning in increasing numbers to VPN services, despite official restrictions on their use in Russia. Daily demand for VPNs has now exceeded levels 2,000% higher than prior to the invasion.
VPN access remains a sensitive issue in Russia. Use of the software is permitted but accessing blocked content is illegal. With 15 VPN services currently officially banned for not complying with Russian government demands, it can be difficult to find a trustworthy VPN that still works in Russia.
The Russian government confirmed on March 15 that Roskomnadzor had been making efforts to block VPN traffic and would continue to do so. 
We will continue to monitor the sites being blocked in Russia that relate to the invasion of Ukraine and update this page on a regular basis.
See the full list of blocked domains.