18 Oct 2022 11:22

Google blocks Russian Federation Council's YouTube accounts, Roskomnadzor demands immediate unblocking

MOSCOW. Oct 18 (Interfax) - Google has blocked the Russian Federation Council's YouTube accounts, which had about 200,000 subscribers and contained some 20,000 videos, the Federation Council said on Telegram on Tuesday.

"The Federation Council's and the Vmeste-RF television channel's accounts on the YouTube video hosting service were blocked and all information was deleted permanently," it said.

Meanwhile, Russian telecommunications watchdog Roskomnadzor demanded that Google immediately restore the YouTube accounts of the Federation Council and Vmeste-RF television channel.

"Roskomnadzor demanded that the U.S.-based Google LLC, which owns the YouTube platform, immediately restore access to the official channels of the Federation Council of the Russian Federal Assembly," the watchdog said in a statement on Tuesday in response to a request from Interfax.

Roskomnadzor noted that it views YouTube's actions "as an unprecedented act of censorship and a flagrant attempt to restrict the information work of a Russian state institution."

The watchdog deems any restrictions on the official channels of the Federation Council unacceptable.

"Roskomnadzor strongly recommends that Russian organizations and users shift to domestic services operating under Russian jurisdiction and complying with Russian laws. The video content of the Federation Council is available on the Rutube platform," Roskomnadzor said.

"The YouTube video hosting website plays a leading role in the information war unleashed by Western countries against Russia. The owner of the platform blatantly ignores the requirements of Russian legislation, does not remove illegal content, and systematically restricts the access to content of Russian media, civic and political organizations and figures, and state authorities," the telecoms watchdog said.

"Since April 2020, Roskomnadzor has identified 87 such acts of censorship against Russian YouTube channels," it said.

On Tuesday, October 18, the Federation Council said its YouTube accounts with a total of 200,000 subscribers and 20,000 videos had been blocked by Google, with all information from them deleted without the possibility of recovery.

The Federation Council and the Vmeste-RF television channel were on YouTube for more than eight years. The accounts published livestreams of sessions of the Federation Council, its committees, congresses and forums, senators' comments, etc.

Expecting such developments, the Federation Council and Vmeste-RF actively developed sites on domestic platforms to make all video content available to users "regardless of the actions of unfriendly countries," the Federation Council said.

The United States imposed sanctions on the Federation Council over the events in Ukraine on September 30.

Previously, the Duma TV account has been blocked on YouTube due to the sanctions imposed on the State Duma.