Russia disconnects from the Internet: here’s what happens

In early April, Russia is preparing to close the borders of its Telematics Network to test its autonomy and security. Here's why

If you're planning a trip to Russia in the coming days or weeks, know that you may have trouble using your smartphone apps or connecting to the "usual" websites from your PC. And the fault is not data roaming or exhausted credit balance, but a very large-scale experiment conducted by the Russian government.

To test the capabilities and security of its national network, in fact, Russia has decided to "close the borders" of its Internet. This means that data and access requests from users will be redirected to servers hosted in the territories of the great Eurasian country. The goal, as mentioned, is to verify the level of autonomy and security of its own network and, consequently, the ability to react in case of a cyber-attack conducted by another foreign power.

Why Russia disconnects from the Internet

The Russian project of disconnecting from the Internet is not at all far-fetched, nor a last-second idea. On the contrary: it is a plan that has been carried out for a few years now and that, in the next stages, should also see the collaboration of China. The disconnection from the rest of the world, we learn from some Russian sources, should take place around April 2019, even if the official date has not yet been communicated (and we don't even know if it will ever be communicated).

If the test should give the results desired by the Russian authorities, the Government of Moscow will give continuity to the project, until reaching the final goal of "self-determination" of the Network. By 2020, it is expected that 95% of the Internet traffic generated in Russia will be routed through local servers and will never go outside the borders of the confederation of states.

What will happen when Russia disconnects from the Internet

In April, when the test will start, Russian ISPs will no longer be able to redirect the requests coming from Internet users to foreign countries, but they will be managed directly by Roskomnazor, the Russian telecommunication surveillance body. For this reason it is possible that, especially during peak hours, users may experience slowdowns or malfunctions of web services. So, if you are in Russia in April and you cannot access your social profile or e-mail address, you already know why.