A major state authority in Russia has objected to the State Duma’s proposal to cancel the ban on Telegram’s encrypted messenger in the country.

Russia’s Ministry of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media, also known as MinComSvyaz, doesn’t support a recent initiative to lift the two-year-long Telegram ban, local news agency Interfax reports May 26.

Russia doesn’t need more services to spread information about COVID-19

On April 22, two deputies at the State Duma proposed a draft bill on terminating the ban of Telegram in Russia due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The proposal stipulates that Telegram has become an “official service” used by some state authorities for raising awareness about measures to mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic and spread crucial information about the coronavirus.

In response to the State Duma’s draft bill, the MinComSvyaz reportedly argued that Russia does not need any other information dissemination tools than established services like official websites. The authority reportedly said that the process of placement of information on the Internet in Russia “is already streamlined.” As such, Russia’s federal law “On Information” does not need any additional regulatory measures, the ministry added.

The authority also highlighted that the draft bill lacks an “implementation mechanism” that would define an entity that is authorized to make decisions on lifting bans of information resources in Russia.

Russia is uncertain about Telegram and crypto, but both continue operating

Russian authorities’ disagreement over the Telegram’s ban comes amid years of uncertainty about local crypto regulation. Some officials confirmed that repeated delays of crypto legislation in Russia were a reason of disagreement between different state authorities. Since initiating its first bill on crypto in 2018, Russia is still uncertain whether the country would legalize or criminalize circulation of cryptocurrencies in the country as there is no adopted law so far.

While Russian authorities are yet to decide on the legal status of crypto in the country, cryptos like Bitcoin (BTC) are apparently gaining more traction in Russia. In April 2020, Russians showed more interest in crypto markets, with local crypto exchange-related traffic reportedly rising over 5%.

Telegram’s legal status in Russia faces a similar situation — despite being formally banned since 2018, the app remains accessible in the country.