“Political motives are stronger than all others”
“Roskomnadzor may block YouTube video hosting on March 18… YouTube will be blocked on March 28… YouTube blocking: April 4 or 5… Rumors about the imminent death of YouTube in Russia, actively circulating in the media and social networks, have not yet been confirmed, but they cannot be called groundless: claims against the service from the Russian authorities are multiplying and multiplying. On Saturday, April 9, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova urged Russians to “quickly” save content and transfer it to Russian platforms. Previously, Google blocked the Duma TV YouTube channel
There is, of course, some mystery in this whole story. Calls to “deal” with the service, uttered by various Russian politicians, began quite a long time ago, long before the start of the special operation. And in the last month they come in a wide, continuous, growing stream.
But, as the classic said, “Vaska listens and eats.” And nothing particularly serious, incompatible with being in the Russian Internet space, “Vaska” has not “arrived” yet. Meanwhile, with many Internet services and information resources, far less deserving punishment, our authorities, I remember, did not stand on ceremony at all. What is the reason for such liberalism in relation to YouTube? With political, technical, economic reasons?
“In my opinion, together with everyone,” Internet Ombudsman Dmitry Marinichev answers the question of MK. “It’s not just about blocking not just YouTube, but about relations with Google. The information network as a whole. Quite a lot of the Internet, which is under the “hood” of the Internet, including domestic services, including even the use of ordinary phones, is based on Google technologies, falls under licensing from its side. Therefore, Google's departure will not be painless for us.”
According to the expert, the Russian authorities take this risk into account, therefore, remaining “in a state of financial and claims confrontation”, they do not take “active actions.” In turn, Google itself adheres to a waiting tactic. He does not leave Russia, although, according to the expert, he could well: “The economic sense of doing business in Russia tends to zero for Google.”
The Internet Ombudsman believes that it is politics that keeps Google in Russia, namely, the ability to form the information field on the territory of the Russian Federation and, accordingly, influence civil society. leave Russia”.
Thus, “both sides are now not interested in escalating this confrontation,” concludes Marinichev. – In my opinion, there is a rather complex, combinational game going on.
“There are no legal and technical obstacles to blocking YouTube,” says Sarkis Darbinyan, a cyber-lawyer and managing partner at DRC law firm. (the creator of the Telegram messenger. – “MK”). Unlike the messenger, YouTube is absolutely not suitable for such a bypass. This is quite a heavy video content that we get quickly thanks to the so-called CDN servers, including those located in Russia. If they are turned off, YouTube will become much slower, and therefore no one will enjoy watching it.”
The reasons for the “liberalism” of the authorities, according to the expert, lie in the economy and partly in politics: “The authorities understand that a huge number of entrepreneurs, bloggers, individuals, and companies are tied to the YouTube economy. Obviously, Rutube is not any analogue of YouTube, does not allow for the same functionality, distributing content to a large audience. The second reason seems to be the reluctance to further radicalize people who are already suffering enough due to the shutdown of global services. Therefore, apparently, they decided to postpone the blocking” .
How long will this intermittent state last? According to Dmitry Marinichev, no scenario can be ruled out. The status quo may change, for example, due to some content posted on YouTube, “which will be such that it will be impossible not to apply a block”. On the other hand, Google itself may decide to leave – after “some next fine”, which will plunge the corporation's activities in Russia into a “deep zone of unprofitability”. Nevertheless, the Internet Ombudsman hopes that “nothing like that will happen.”
Sarkis Darbinyan gives a more definite forecast: “I dare to suggest that blocking YouTube is just a matter of time. YouTube continues to annoy the Russian authorities, not removes the content that, according to Roskomnadzor, is illegal, does not restore access to federal channels, does nothing to “land”. Therefore, sooner or later, YouTube, of course, will be blocked. Political motives are still stronger than all others motives”.