The draft law, called the Digital Economy National Program, requires Russia’s ISPs to ensure that it can operate in the event of foreign powers acting to isolate the country online. The Digital Economy National Program legislation requires the local internet, known as the Runet, to pass through exchange points managed by Russia’s telecommunications regulator Roskomnazor. This will simultaneously protect Russia in the event of cyber war but will also filtering internet traffic to the country.
The idea of cutting Russia off from the broader internet was first proposed in 2014. At that time the Security Council of Russia warned of the risks of relying on other countries to provide essential parts of the country’s internet infrastructure. Without knowing how it will impact on Russian citizens, businesses and government agencies, the test will separate Runet from the wider internet for a short period of time at some point before 1 April. Russian legislators have given tentative approval to the draft legislation which passed its first reading in the lower house of parliament on Tuesday by 334 votes to 47. Many legislators from minority parties criticised it. One of the authors dismissed all criticism, citing the scale of the potential threat from Washington.