Kremlin falcons. Who is responsible for safety in Runet? 

Kremlin falcons. Who is responsible for safety in Runet?
Aleksey Sokolov, the Deputy Minister of Communications and Mass Media, comes from Kremlin to oversee Runet

The Russian Government and State Duma are very persistent in their effort to create their analogue to the Great Firewall of China. There may even already be the curator for “future national Internet infrastructure”.

Creation of the National List of Banned Web-Sites in 2014 was the first step to establishing control over the Runet users. Russian civil servants spewed a whole bunch of ideas for bans following the sanctions frenzy. The Senator Maksim Kavdzharadze proposing creating a closed communication network called Cheburashka became the first sign. That was also when the Federal Service for Supervision in the Sphere of Telecom, Information Technologies and Mass Communications of the Russian Federation started actively banning web-sites. The Service banned 525 web-sites and added 30 000 more to the List in 2014 alone. One could think Cheburashka would become a thing one day, but not in the near future. They may end up being wrong after all.

Safe communications

The Ministry of Telecom and Mass Communications of the Russian Federation drafted amendments to the Federal Laws “On Communications” and “On Information, IT and Information Security”. The amendments, as a matter of fact, directly borrow from the principles on which the Firewall is built upon. It all boils down to passing total control over the .ru and .рф domains to Russian companies. The Coordination Center for TLD RU controls these domains extensions now. The Assotsiatsiaya Dokumentalnoy Elektrisvyazy Public Communication Company, the Russian Institute for Public Network and the Internet Providers Union of the Russian Federation and Center for Internet Technologies were the incorporators of the Coordination Center not too long ago. But it was not partially owned by the state, however.

That is why the Ministry and the Institute for the Internet Development became the Coordination Center incorporators November 2015. The Ministry started working on the amendments afterwards. Some public company will acquire the right for the Coordination Center as a result. The Rostelecom Public Company, Giprosvyaz Design Company, and Voskhod and Radio R & D Institutes are the main candidates for becoming the Runet regulatory authority, according to Kommersant Publishing House. The House’s source claims business interests of the people who initiated creation of the national Internet infrastructure are the reason for all of that. Aleksey Sokolov, the Deputy Minister of Communications and Mass Media of the Russian Federation, is the main curator for the Internet iron curtain project.

Алексей Соколов

Aleksey Sokolov, the Deputy Minister of Communications and Mass Media of the Russian Federation

Mr Sokolov is truly the Ministry puppet master. He was transferred to the Ministry from the Presidential Administration of Russia to implement IT projects. The Yarovaya Law is one of them. It is worth mentioning that there is no mention of his 2003-2008 activities in the Deputy Minister’s official biography. It simply says that he was a civil servant. He was not a common employee, however, but the advisor for Nikolay Patrushev, the FSB Director.

Mr Patrushev is more than just a superior for Aleksey Sokolov; he is an old friend of his family. Valery Sokolov knows not only high-ranking intelligence agencies colleagues, but criminals as well. The Novaya Gazeta newspaper reported on him knowing Andrey Khloev, one of the Tambovskaya gang leaders, 4 years ago. Mr Khloev allegedly planned on establishing a freight company and opening a customs terminal through Mr Sokolov’s help in mid-2000th. That is when Mr Khloev met Valery Sokolov, the former FSB colonel and one of the incorporators of the National Fund for Law Enforcement Officers Support, according to Novaya Gazeta. Mr Sokolov Senior is the Chairman of the Board of the Novie Oboronnie Tekhnologii Defense Company now.

The company manufactures weapon for the Strategic Missile Troops of the Russian Federation and is a part of the Almaz-Antey group of companies managed by Sergey Chemezovy, the Rostech Non-Profit Company CEO. It is worth mentioning that he is the one responsible for the Yarovaya Law implementation. The notorious “national Internet infrastructure” is likely to follow in the same footsteps. How can the Sokolovs profit from it? It is hard to tell now. There is no doubt Valery Sokolov will find a way, however, considering his vast experience with turning public projects into profitable private businesses.

Валерий Соколов

Valery Sokolov, the Novie Oboronnie Tekhnologii Defense Company Head

Dad can do this!

The Russian Government started fighting with people erasing real and entering false data into cash registers in early 2000th. FSB assumed responsibility for returning shadow money back to budget. It found a solution in quite a short time. The agency planted sealed black boxes into cash registers; the devices would record and encrypt all the information entered. This is how EKLZ (Electronic Protective Cash Register Tape) originated.

The technology fell flat, however. Hackers started selling technical solutions allowing decrypting and nullifying the tape soon. Nonetheless, the technology was quickly implemented into the retail industry. It was used for almost 15 years but is to be replaced with on-line cash registers finally. There were 2 companies that manufactured the tape: Atlas Public R&D Center, Moscow, and Nauchnie Pribory JSC. It is worth mentioning private individuals (Russian citizens) owned 74.25% of the latter instead of the government. Valery Sokolov is the chairman of the Board. The headline-making fight against shadow economy turned into a quiet little private business.

The business scheme is as simple as it gets. A retailer has to buy the tape and seals, as well as to pay for maintenance. The tape costed 6.6 thousand rubles, while its prime cost amounted to $20 per piece. The market volume amounted to about 3.5 million cash registers. The annual average 2007 ruble-dollar rate amounted to 31.5 rubles. This means about 21 billion rubles of net profit from the tape alone; the Federal Tax Service of the Russian Federation required decryption devices manufactured by the Atlas Public R & D Center and Nauchnie Pribory JSC.

Ирина Соколова

Irina Sokolova, a member of the VI State Duma of the Russian Federation

It is worth mentioning that Irina Sokolova, the wife of Valery Sokolov and mother of Aleksey Sokolov, the Deputy Minister of Communications and Mass Media of the Russian Federation, lobbied the tape use on the legislative level. She has long been a member of the Edinaya Rossiya Party and made quite a career, having started as Boris Grizlov’s assistant. Ms Sokolova is a member of the State Duma now. The Runet users are up to a genuine falconry in view of the Nauchnie Pribory JSC capabilities and the Sokolovs cumulative experience. How is going to pay for it? We suspect Russian taxpayers will be the ones to do so.

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