Russian Watchdog Threatens News Site Over Bitcoin Article

Yessi Bello Perez
Jul 29, 2015 at 11:56 UTC
Updated Jul 30, 2015 at 13:30 UTC
news

Russia’s media watchdog has told Zuckerberg Pozvonit, a tech news site, that it must delete or edit a bitcoin-related article it published two years ago.

According to Global Voices, Roskomnadzor – the Kremlin’s executive body responsible for controlling and supervising media and mass communications – issued a notice today stating that, if the news source did not act within three days, access to the website would be blocked.

The explanatory article, titled “What Are Bitcoins and Who Needs Them?” was first published in April 2013 and offered a brief introduction to the digital currency and its history.

Vyacheslav Tsyplukhin, who publishes Zuckerberg Pozvonit spoke about the Roskomnadzor’s notice on his Facebook profile, noting that the outlet usually refrained from publishing material of a political nature.

His status suggested the article would remain unaltered:

“We haven’t discussed the issue collectively yet, but I maintain the position that we don’t have to delete anything. Let them close the website, and then let them explain to our 1.8 million readers, and to the industry, what is going on.”

Bitcoin crackdown

This is not the first time Roskomnadzor has taken a stance against bitcoin-related online content.

In January this year, the media watchdog blocked access to various bitcoin websites in the country, including bitcoin.org, a community site sponsored by the Bitcoin Foundation; bitcoin.it, a wiki project about bitcoin; Indacoin exchange; and BTC.sec, a bitcoin news site.

A few months later, BTCsec.com and Smile Expo – a Moscow based event company which hosted its second bitcoin conference in December last year – testified in Sverdlovsk Regional Court as part of a complaint against the government’s decision to block access to their domains. The websites won their case and access was subsequently reinstated.

The news also follows Russia President Vladimir Putin’s first ever public comments on digital currencies during a live TV broadcast. Speaking to Russia 24 during an educational broadcast, Putin voiced his support for the Russian Central Bank in its exploration of technology.

He said:

“We do not reject anything, but there are serious, really fundamental issues related to its wider usage, at least, today.”

Russian Kremlin image via Shutterstock. 

For a more detailed history of bitcoin’s tumultuous history in Russia check out our interactive timeline.

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