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Far East Clenched its Fist
July 30, 2010 18:18

A court in Komsomolsk-on-Amur in the Russian Far East has ordered all local Internet service providers to block access to and four other websites for publishing extremist materials. Other regions in Russia could follow suit.

YouTube posted a video, Russia for Russians, which is on the federal list of extremist materials.

The other sites to be banned are,, and the electronic library TheLib (, which published Hitler's Mein Kampf.

The court's ruling was made following a complaint filed by Vladimir Pakhomov, a prosecutor in Komsomolsk-on-Amur, against the local provider Rosnet. The ruling reads that a survey conducted in accordance with the law on extremism revealed these and other extremist materials, and that all local providers must block access to the resources that published them.

Rosnet president Alexander Yermakov said his company cannot uphold the court's ruling because it has no right to limit people's access to information and that it is the company that created the resource or its administrator who are responsible for its content.

However, the court has ruled that Rosnet as the respondent failed to ensure the safety of users and granted the prosecutor's request.

Yermakov said they have already appealed the ruling.

There is no mechanism for removing extremist materials from a website, said a law-enforcement official. If a resource is registered in Russia, we can deal directly with its owners, he said, but it is virtually impossible to influence the content of sites that are registered in the United States, whose owners refuse to comply citing the First Amendment.

It is only theoretically that a ban can be applied to any resource, the official said.

A Russian representative of Google (YouTube is a Google subsidiary) said it is very easy to remove offensive material from YouTube. You only need to flag it and enumerate your complaints in an accompanying letter, as it was done with the Doku Umarov video, he said.

 According to the Russian Ministry of Telecommunications and Mass Media, the ruling of the Komsomolsk-on-Amur court is beyond the ministry's scope of authority as none of the sources mentioned is registered in Russia as a mass media outlet.

The Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, IT and Mass Media has control only over the sources registered in Russia, said Yelena Lashkina, press secretary of the communications minister.


Tags: Komsomolsk-on-Amur Far East Russian laws Rosneft  

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