Donestk and Lugansk follow the Russian example and block Google

In Ukraine, the pro-Russian separatist territories have just announced the blocking of Google. For Donestk and Lugansk, the objective is clear: to strengthen the control of information, in the image of the policy pursued by Moscow on Russian territory.

Donestk and Lugansk follow suit in Moscow

On Friday, July 22, the authorities of the two pro-Russian separatist territories in eastern Ukraine, Donestk and Lugansk, announced that they had blocked Google services. According to an official press release, “the search engine promotes terrorism and violence against all Russians, especially the population of Donbass”. Since the launch of the Russian invasion in Ukraine, an information war has been playing out in the background. Google isn’t the only tech giant to bear the brunt of Russian politics. Social networks Facebook, Twitter and Instagram were also blocked.

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Denis Pushilin, leader of the Donetsk People’s Republic, a Russian-backed breakaway state, posted a message on Telegram saying Google would now be banned. In recent weeks, new texts have also been adopted in Russia. Laws that allow the government to punish with heavy prison sentences the publication of what the authorities deem to be ” fake news “ about the army or “external military operations”the famous expression used by Vladimir Putin to describe the invasion of Ukraine.

Russia is closing in a little more every day

Google and other social networks blocked by Russia and pro-Russian separatist territories are accused of “engage in extremist activities for policies that allow users in certain countries to share content that violates rules against violent speech”. Donestk and Lugansk are applying Moscow’s policy with their eyes closed. A few days earlier, Google had also been fined nearly $363 million by Russia for publishing “prohibited content” on YouTube, supposed to promote “extremism and terrorism”.

We feel that in recent weeks, Russia has intensified the application of laws intended to impose media censorship. The use of the word war is even almost forbidden in Russia, as in Donestk and Lugansk. At the same time, the European Union is trying to step up the fight against disinformation so that cyberspace does not become a privileged zone for online hatred and fake news. The 27 European ministers in charge of digital are asking the web giants to adopt additional measures.

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