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Is Russia Concerned By Putin’s Internet Surveillance?

Authorities in Russia maintain tight control over the information which is distributed via the Internet, but how do ordinary Russians feel about it?

Andrei Soldatov, an expert on the Russian secret services, has written about the Kremlin's Internet surveillance program. In an article published by Newsweek, he discusses the monitoring activities and their effect on the Russian people.

Is Russia worried by Internet surveillance?

Compared to the privacy concerns that are increasingly evident in countries around the world, Russians seem to be relatively relaxed about state surveillance. "Russians accept the idea that state surveillance is something that cannot be changed," writes Soldatov.

The sense that the government will inevitably monitor private communications may be due to the close ties between technology companies and security services, he continues.

Since Putin returned to power, efforts to control social media have redoubled. Soldatov believes that the Arab Spring is responsible for the shifting attitudes, and a notable shift occurred after Putin replaced Dmitry Medvedev.

Medvedev believed that technology could be used to positive effect, but "Putin has a KGB mentality and his mindset is influenced by the events of 1991 and the collapse of the Soviet Union." His fear of social media stems from its role in the so-called Color Revolutions, a series of mass uprisings in former Soviet states, and the Arab Spring.

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