After Russian generals accused Yevgeny V.Prigozhin of trying to stage a coup, several Russian internet service providers have blocked users from accessing Google News.
According to NetBlocks' analysis, at least five telecommunications providers, including Rostelecom U-LAN Telplus, have blocked Google News. Google News aggregates news sources from a variety of sources. According to the analysis, several other internet service providers are also limiting access.
Google did not immediately respond to an inquiry for comment.
Russian officials announced late Friday that Mr. Prigozhin was the leader of the Wagner Group - a mercenary group - and had attempted to mount a coup attempt against President Vladimir V. Putin. The Russian authorities opened an investigation for Mr. Prigozhin's 'organizing of an armed revolt'.
Roskomnadzor (Russia's Internet Regulator), announced in March 2022 it would block Google News for Russian internet users. This was after Google halted its advertising in Russia, and began blocking online content that spreads false information in support of Russia's invasion in Ukraine.
Roskomnadzor forms part of the larger technology apparatus that Vladimir Putin has developed over time to exert control via technology channels. In addition to closely monitoring Russia's Internet, the authorities use a domestic spying program that intercepts calls and internet traffic. They also hack into other countries' government systems and spread disinformation online.
Many Western technology companies have pulled out their products and services from Russia after the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2014. TikTok, Netflix and other services have suspended their service in the country. Facebook was blocked. Twitter has been blocked in part, and Apple, Samsung and Microsoft have all pulled back, or even completely, from Twitter.