Dmitry Medvedev Calls Internet Censorship "Senseless"

By: Qichen Zhang on 23 April 2012
Posted in Russia, Europe, ONI

President Dmitry Medvedev posted a video on the official Kremlin website in which he supported an open Internet. Calling censorship "impossible" and "senseless," Medvedev called for more social network usage for the purpose of making government authorities more transparent and more citizen participation in creating policy that governs Internet activity. In reference to the impracticality of Internet censorship, the outgoing Russian president said:

The internet acts as a universal tool and can therefore be used for society’s good, as for its detriment. The law enforcement agencies will continue their work here. But we are not talking about online censorship. I have said many times that such censorship is impossible. It would be a pointless endeavour.

He went on to say that the Internet should be used "to expand citizens' participation in solving the most important issues, and to increase the quality of state governance."

Although Russia was on the Reporters Without Borders's Enemies of the Internet list this year, the government seems to be actively trying to correct this image. Over half of the Russian population now has access to the Internet, and Internet penetration in the country has doubled in the past six years, according to Rianovosti. As Medvedev transitions out of his presidency, he seems to be embracing the Internet and calling for Russian citizens to improve its capabilities and potential for communication.

Medvedev has worked hard to build an Internet-savvy image, making use of web technologies to communicate to Russians and Internet users. Just last week, around the same time that he released the public statement about censorship, a YouTube video of Medvedev dancing to "American Boy" went viral. He later tweeted about the video: “Cutting loose at a meeting with the class a year ago."