After years of unsuccessful efforts to ban Telegram in Russia, local authorities have finally decided to cancel the ban on the major encrypted messenger in the country.
Russia’s Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media, also known as Roskomnadzor, has officially lifted the two-year-long ban on Telegram.
In an official statement on Thursday, Roskomnadzor said that the authority has removed requirements restricting the access to the Telegram messenger in agreement with the Prosecutor General of Russia.
Announcing the news, Roskomnadzor outlined that the regulator commends Telegram CEO Pavel Durov’s willingness to confront terrorism and extremism. The announcement apparently comes in response to a recent statement from Durov claiming that the Telegram team has been actively combating terrorism and extremism on the messenger while ensuring user privacy.
In a June 4 post, Telegram's CEO noted that the company is preventing thousands of public statements encouraging violence each month. Durov wrote:
Brief story of Telegram ban in Russia
Russia’s move to unblock Telegram in the country comes on the heels of recent efforts to lift the Telegram ban by the State Duma. On April 23, two State Duma members introduced a draft bill on terminating Telegram ban in Russia. The officials argued that the messaging app is helpful in raising awareness about the measures to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic.
Soon after the proposal was made, another Russian authority, the Ministry of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media, questioned the initiative to lift the ban. The ministry argued that the country does not need more services to distribute data on the Internet.
Russia’s Roskomnadzor started blocking Telegram in 2018 shortly after Moscow’s Tagansky District Court ordered restriction of access to Telegram in Russia on April 13. As reported by Cointelegraph, Telegram has been remaining accessible for users in Russia despite many attempts to block it. As of press time, Telegram apparently still needs some VPN assistance to access the messenger from Russia.