In April of this year, Russia passed a controversial “sovereign internet law.” The law would “require online traffic to pass through servers run by government’s internet regulation agency by 2021, allowing the Kremlin to much better observe and control what Russian citizens are doing.” Additionally the law allows the government to “shut down outside access, block websites that they don’t like, and monitor traffic.”

Earlier this week, the Russian government took yet another step forward to control its population. On Monday the government announced it will test its “Internal RuNet network” to see if the country can “function without the global internet” reported Defense One. These policy steps are “intended to allow the Russian government to cut its citizens off from the rest of the world.”

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Defense One’s report states that they translated an article originally in Russian, which said, “the government approved the provision on conducting exercises to ensure the stable, safe and holistic functioning of the Internet and public communications networks in the Russian Federation.”

Reports say Russia has been particularly prudent on taking control over the internet and freedoms away from their citizens after “seeing the role social media played in the Arab Spring.” The infrastructure which disconnects Russia from the global internet “has also worked to limit Russian citizens’ access to sites and services that allow citizens to mobilize and protest.”