How did Telegram evade the Russian government’s anti-terrorism ban?

Earlier this month, Russian authorities lifted a ban on Telegram messaging, citing the company’s willingness to help with its counter-terrorism efforts. However, although the official ban has been in force for more than two years, it is interesting that Telegram can still visit the country for most of this time.

In a new feature, the Washington Post writes how Telegram founder Pavel Durov “humiliated and bypassed Russia’s state telecommunications regulator” to prevent the app from being banned. Unsurprisingly, its full text is well worth reading.

Telegram initially gained attention from the Russian authorities because it was said to have become one of the preferred apps for the country’s opposition parties, which wanted to obtain encrypted messages from Telegram users, but Durov disagreed.

How did Telegram evade the Russian government's anti-terrorism ban?

Two years ago, Pavel Durov refused to allow Russian security services to access encrypted messages on its popular Telegram messaging app, and the authorities’s ultimatum was to either submit it or erase it from the country’s digital map.

However, neither of these cases has occurred.

The reason is that Telegram has found a way to bypass the regulator’s firewall by swaying its traffic through U.S. cloud services from companies such as Amazon and Google. Andrei Soldatov, a Russian investigative journalist and security service expert, said the combination of its changing IP addresses meant that other websites and services were thrown into disarray when Roskomnadzor, russia’s internet censor, tried to block Telegram. But the strategy has proved controversial in some companies.

“Telegram effectively takes large platforms with large users — companies hosted on them — as hostages,” Sodatov said. not the Russian authorities. “

These strategies are reportedly not working in more technologically sophisticated countries because their work is more detailed and complex enough to make the Russian authorities abandon attempts to ban Telegram. Instead, in a strange twist, government officials seem to accept it.