Over the course of recent months, Bitcoin-related websites in Russia have been banned by government officials. Just a few weeks ago, that decision was overturned by a Yekaterinburg court, deeming that this ban was “not legal”. A few days ago, Russia’s Federal Supervision Agency for Information Technologies and Communications blocked access to the country’s most popular Bitcoin news website.
Russia Truly Dislikes Bitcoin
It is a public secret that Russian government officials truly dislike Bitcoin and its underlying technology. That should come as no surprise to most of our readers, as Russia has never had a reputation of embracing new technology hailing from outside of their country. Bitcoin is no different in that regard, and officials have been fighting tooth and nail to prevent the world of Bitcoin being spread on the internet.
The blockade of multiple Bitcoin websites just a few months ago was yet another example of the uphill battle digital currency is facing in Russia. However, justice was served a few short weeks ago, when a Yekaterinburg court overturned the government decision to block access to these websites. Ever since that decision, access to these websites has yet to be restored.
In all honestly, no one expected this to be the end of Russia’s negative stance towards Bitcoin and digital currency. And it didn’t take all that long to confirm that suspicion, as BitNovosti.com – one of Russia’s leading Bitcoin news websites – is effectively being blocked by Russian authorities due to the country’s internet censorship law.
The owner of the BitNovosti website posted the following [translated] message on Vkontakte:
“Roskomnadzor has blocked access to our site in Russia. Of course, we can go to court and spend a lot of time trying to prove that this was done illegally and then wait until government officials remove the site from their blacklist. But we will not do this, especially since the proposed law to ban information on cryptocurrency is expected to pass in the Duma soon. Thus, the blocking of ALL Bitcoin-resources is only a matter of time.”
Circumventing The Blockade with UltraSurf
Needless to say, the Bitnovosti owner has to make a decision on whether or not it is worth taking this matter to court. Despite the Yekaterinburg court overturning the previous website ban against Bitcoin-related website, there is no guarantee that lightning will strike twice. Not to mention that going to court will also cost a significant amount of money.
However, there is a way to work around this which is available to any Russian citizen who wants to visit the site. UltraSurf is an IP-masking service, which can be installed as both a Chrome plugin or a standalone desktop client. By using UltraSurf, any blockades in place by the Russian government or authorities can easily be circumvented.
If it is up to Russian government officials, they will be passing a nationwide law against “money surrogates” such as Bitcoin and other digital currencies. That decision will be made in August of 2015, and could very well shape the future for cryptocurrency-related projects in Russia.
Images courtesy of BitNovosti and Shutterstock