Is Russia Prepping for War by Cracking Down on Social Media?

Is Russia Prepping for War by Cracking Down on Social Media?

MOSCOW—Andrei Lugovoi has a certain fame outside of Russia. The former KGB officer is wanted in Great Britain for his alleged role in the murder of the dissident former spy Alexander Litvinenko in London in 2006 using the very high-tech poison, polonium-210.

But in Russia, Lugovoi is now a prominent member of the State Duma, the lower house of the Federal Assembly, where last week he introduced a new legislative project which could poison the internet that many Russians, particularly younger ones, have grown used to.

The idea is to isolate Russia from the supposedly sinister and politically problematic influences of social media, much as China has done, banning or limiting Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other websites.

It’s well known that Lugovoi represents the views of the “siloviki” or law enforcement agencies. Every time he proposes a legislative project, the parliament members know that the ideas are shared at Lubianka, the headquarters of the Federal Security Service (FSB).

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