Russia Blocks Critic's Site, Warns Google About Billionaire Yacht Videos

Posted February 16, 2018

Navalny's website, the webpage dedicated to his investigation concerning Deripaska and Deputy Prime Minister Serge Prikhodko, as well as the relevant YouTube video, were earlier included in the list of information banned from circulation.

"Roskomnadzor has begun blocking at the behest of Deripaska. In a rare tweet posted in English, Navalny wrote: "@instagram chose to comply with Russian illegal censorship requests and deleted some content about oligarch Deripaska.

YouTube and Instagram may be blocked in Russian Federation as early as tomorrow unless they comply with the order and remove the material, Vedomosti newspaper reported, citing the watchdog. Russia's communications regulator Roskomnadzor then blacklisted the materials.

Alexey Navalny, the key opposition figure in Russian Federation, said today that his site has been blocked in Russian Federation.

It said the platforms showed a senior government official sailing on a yacht with a billionaire oligarch, who has links with the former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort.

Russia's most well-known opposition figure, Navalny has been forbidden from standing against Putin in an upcoming March election.

The Roskomnadzor communications watchdog said it's waiting for a "positive decision" from YouTube after Deripaska obtained an injunction requiring the removal of seven videos that he says breach his right to privacy.

Instagram photos were also among those that the watchdog wanted to block, though Rybka, whose pseudonym means "fish", appears to have deleted the original images of Deripaska from her account.

Footage of the billionaire sailing on a yacht with deputy prime minister Sergei Prikhodko, where it is claimed bribes were exchanged, is now online. Navalny refused to obey a court order threatening to shut down his web resources and appealed it.

Also on February 9, RFE/RL's Russian Service received an e-mail notification from Roskomnadzor stating that Navalny's report contained material whose dissemination in Russia was prohibited. Otherwise, access to the posts would be blocked in Russian Federation.

"Nastya Rybka" was one of four sexily-dressed women who entered the Navalny organization's Moscow headquarters last September and were filmed by a crew from Russia's Life News, who "just happened" to be passing by with professional equipment, Navalny says in his YouTube video.

Navalny's video was still on YouTube as of Wednesday, and had been viewed nearly 5 million times.

Both Deripaska and Prikhodko, who rarely makes comments to the media, denied the allegations.

Navalny, who was barred from running against Vladimir Putin in March's presidential elections, has built a massive online following in Russian Federation for investigations accusing government ministers and top officials of corruption.