Putin's Turf War With Telegram Escalates as Russia Blocks IPs

(Bloomberg) -- Russia’s communications regulator blocked some Alphabet Inc. internet addresses, blaming the U.S. owner of Google for helping Pavel Durov’s Telegram Messenger LLP service evade government blocking.

"Google hasn’t complied with Roskomnadzor requests and, despite a court ruling, keeps allowing Telegram Messenger to use its IP addresses to operate in Russia," the watchdog said on its official page on the VK.com social network. "Therefore, Roskomnadzor included some Google IP addresses into a register of banned internet resources."

Google services were partially unavailable in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kazan, Krasnoyarsk and other Russian cities on Sunday, according to downdetector.com, a service that monitors internet outages. Google said it’s aware of reported problems with user access.

Russia started blocking Telegram on April 16 upon a court ruling over its failure to provide the Federal Security Service with the means to access the correspondence of terrorism suspects. Telegram uses a built-in feature to redirect traffic and bypass the blocking, making it available to most Russians, while Roskomnadzor has blocked over 18 million IP-addresses Telegram is using to bypass the government’s action.

Microsoft, Viber

Some Microsoft websites, Viber messenger and a range of companies from an English-language school to a fast-delivery service couldn’t be reached because of Roskomnadzor internet restrictions, according to security firm Qrator Labs. The Russian unit of Austria’s Raiffeisen Bank International AG experienced outages on Friday, but said they weren’t linked to Telegram.

International human-rights group Agora, which represents Telegram in Russian courts, said at least 120 third-party firms suffered from Roskomnadzor actions, and they may have grounds for a lawsuit against the regulator.

Telegram raised $1.7 billion in the largest ever initial coin offering to fund creating a built-in cryptocurrency in the messenger claims over 200 million users globally, including about 15 million in Russia. It proposed that users send a paper plane from their windows at 7 p.m. to express support for free Internet in Russia.

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