Russia Allocates $27.6mn for Autonomous Internet Project

    The Russian government has approved regulations that allocate funds from its budget to create and operate a Monitoring and Direction Center for Public Online Networks, needed to implement a new law on “autonomous internet”, reports.

    The Monitoring Center would be responsible for the operation of the Russian Internet were it to be isolated in case of an external threat, the government says. A budget of 1.8 billion rubles ($27.6 million) over the next three years has been proposed for the creation of the center.

    The new regulations will enable the center to rely primarily on contract labor until 2022, with contractors completing 95 percent of all tasks related to developing software and hardware for the center. The center itself is set to include no more than 70 employees whose average salary will not exceed the average salary in Moscow, the new regulations say.

    Earlier this month, President Vladimir Putin signed a law which allows Russia to have the ability to safely disconnect its internet from the World Wide Web.

    The sovereign ‘Runet’ law, which was introduced in December, is not popular with Russians, and a recent poll found only 23 percent of citizens support it. But it is now set to come into effect in November, with telecoms operators obliged to abide by its terms from the start of 2021.

    The stated purpose of the law is to maintain the stability of the Russian internet and the services running over it, in case foreign aggressors try to cut it off the global whole. That action is something that has never been taken deliberately against any country and remains highly unlikely.

    To that end, Russia will need to build its own Domain Name System (DNS), and internet service providers will need to install special equipment – provided and paid for by the state at a reported cost of 20.8 billion rubles ($320 million). That equipment allows communications regulator Roskomnadzor to direct traffic through Russian exchange points only, at times when the Runet is seen as being under threat.