In December 2018, the State Duma, Russia’s lower house of parliament, introduced a bill known as the “Sovereign Internet Law” (officially bill №608767-7). On January 17th, the bill was discussed in the Duma together with representatives of several Russia-based Internet companies, including Yandex. Following the meeting, sources in the media reported that Yandex supported the draft law. We want to take the opportunity to explain in English how we view this proposal.
Yandex supports the overarching principle behind the bill, as stated within its explanatory note, “to ensure long-term and steadfast operation of the Internet in Russia, to increase reliability of Russian Internet resources.” Internet service providers and other internet companies are constantly working to improve the reliability of their services. Our users are our top priority and we conceptually support ensuring that they would continue to have access to Yandex and other useful services in the event of a major Internet shutdown. Our ecosystem of products and services serve as critical online tools that help the local Internet users navigate their daily routines.
However, as the draft law is currently presented, there are no clear definitions of which threats to the local Internet are being addressed by the proposed bill. Yandex believes that without clearly defined threats to the local Internet, it is difficult at this stage to design or propose any protection mechanisms. Yandex does not support the current version of this proposed law. We will continue to evaluate the progress of the bill throughout the legislative process.