Russia is Banning the Internet Archive and Blaming it on Terrorism

By Adam Clark Estes on at

Russian internet users can no longer time warp through internet history. This week, the Russian government blocked the Internet Archive domain–which makes the nonprofit’s popular and useful time-warping tool, the Wayback Machine, off limits.

The Kremlin has an explanation for blocking the Internet Archive, of course: A censorship monitoring project run by the Russian Pirate Party claims that police targeted a page on the Archive.org domain called “Solitary Jihad in Russia.” The page is just a block of text on the “theory and practice of partisan resistance” that also suggests Sharia law be implemented worldwide. Russian ISPs apparently would have been unable to block the single page due to the Internet Archives use of HTTPS encryption, so the government just went ahead and blacklisted the whole domain.

This sort of censorship is hardly a surprise. Putin and his comrades have been swinging their censorship-happy sickles at the internet more aggressively than ever over the past few months, including going so far as to ban memes. Just last month, Russia’s media authority, Roskomnadzor, warned companies like Facebook, Google, and Twitter that their domains would be blacklisted as well if the tech giants wouldn’t comply with the country’s strict law requiring bloggers with more than 3,000 daily readers to reveal their true identities. This is especially shady, since Twitter earlier revealed that it “denied several requests to silence popular critics of the Russian government and other demands to limit speech about non-violent demonstrations in Ukraine.”

Russia famously loves its ability to write revisionist history. Now, it’ll be just a little bit easier.