Are you looking to download or stream Spotify in Russia? If so, you need to know more about what the government is doing to stop this from happening. While the Kremlin is making it hard for you, there are a couple of things you can do. First, you can install a VPN, which will encrypt your internet traffic. This means you won’t be monitored, so you can listen to your favorite songs. Second, there are apps that can help you bypass the censorship.
Russian law makes it illegal to discredit the Russian military
Russia recently adopted laws which make it illegal to discredit the Russian military or call for sanctions against the country. This is part of a broader effort to suppress dissent.
The new law was approved by President Vladimir Putin on March 4. It has been signed into law by both the Senate and the House of Representatives. These laws were fast-tracked through the legislature. Although it was not immediately clear when criminal prosecutions might begin, they may not take place right away.
Vera Kotova was the first person to be prosecuted under this new Russian law. She wrote “No to war!” at the foot of a statue of Soviet state founder Vladimir Lenin. After eight hours in court, she was fined 30,000 rubles. However, she is appealing the ruling.
According to the law, if you spread false information about the war in Ukraine, you can face up to 15 years in prison. In addition, you can be sentenced to up to three years in jail for repeat offenses.
There is also a separate set of penalties for public calls for extremism. You can be fined up to 500 thousand rubles, or you can be sentenced to four years of compulsory labour. For similar crimes committed online, you can be sentenced to up to five years in prison.
Article 361 makes it unlawful to discredit the Armed Forces or Russian interests. It explains that acts of international terrorism or bombing, explosions outside the Russian Federation, actions that threaten the territorial integrity or political stability of the Russian Federation, and other crimes are all prohibited.
Similarly, the new law makes it unlawful to spread “fake news” about the armed forces. Such actions can include distorted reporting on the military’s losses, or calling for the end of the deployment of Russian armed forces.
Those involved in organizing or financing extremist activities or organizations are also subject to the law. Individuals can be fined up to 50,000 rubles, while legal entities can be fined up to 500,000 rubles.
While the Russian government has already stepped up its efforts to block foreign media from covering the war in Ukraine, the laws are also limiting access to Russian-based social platforms. For example, Wikipedia and Twitter are still operating, although they have been partially blocked by the communication watchdog, Roskomnadzor.
Russian tech firms have stopped offering products and services in Russia
There has been a wave of tech companies halting offerings in Russia. This includes major Western firms such as Apple, Google, and Microsoft. However, there are many other firms that are still operating in the country.
One of the largest tech companies is Amazon. In addition to halting shipments to Russia, the company also announced that it will cut off Prime Video access in the nation. Other firms that have done the same include Visa, Mastercard, and PayPal.
While some foreign firms have withdrawn from the Russian market, others have taken a more apolitical approach, saying they are winding down operations. Several companies have cited sanctions as the primary reason.
Another example is Cisco, which has announced that it is suspending operations in Russia. It will stop all new projects in the country, but some work may continue. And it will donate $6 million to aid humanitarian efforts in the region.
Google and Twitter have both stopped promoting news outlets that are based in Russia, and have banned Russian state-run media outlets. Adobe has also acted against Russian disruptive measures, blocking Russian state-controlled media outlets from cloud services.
While the US imposed sanctions against Russia, European regulators have imposed sanctions against wealthy oligarchs connected to the Kremlin. These measures have also affected Russian energy companies.
Russian authorities have also blocked many media outlets. For instance, the BBC Russian Service is no longer available, and Echo of Moscow has also been barred.
Other companies have also taken steps to block Russian state-controlled media. Apple has limited some Apple Pay services in the country. But Apple has not stopped sales or access to the App Store in Russia.
Google has also paused sales of its search and advertising products in the country. The company has also taken other steps to censor content and ads from Russian entities.
Other companies, including Dell, Intel, Apple, and SAP, have announced that they have halted sales and operations in the country. While it is impossible to predict the future of the tech industry in the wake of these events, it is clear that there are a number of significant hurdles that need to be overcome.
VPN apps bypass the Kremlin’s censorship
One of the best ways to bypass the Kremlin’s censorship is with virtual private networks (VPNs). These apps are secure and can help you gain access to websites you’d otherwise be blocked from. You can also hide your identity and avoid being tracked by hackers.
VPNs are one of the most popular privacy tools in countries with strict internet censorship. Russians are increasingly turning to them to get around online blocks. But not all of them are created equal. A lot of them don’t commit to data sharing, and some don’t even have servers in Russia. So, you’ll need to choose carefully.
In the last few months, demand for VPNs has spiked in Russia. According to AppFigures, the average number of downloads for top VPN software increased 2,088% from mid-February to late February.
Despite these high numbers, the Kremlin is still banning websites. This includes Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. And they haven’t stopped there. Other companies have also pulled their services from the country.
However, these restrictions aren’t the only thing hampering people’s ability to get online. The Russian government has also passed an anti-terrorism law that enlarges its surveillance capabilities. It will allow it to store communications for up to three years.
As well as blocking sites, the Russian government can access telecom data at any time. Even with the most sophisticated encryption technology, it’s unlikely that they’ll be able to keep it from the authorities.
Fortunately, there are plenty of VPN apps out there that can help you bypass the Kremlin’s repressive measures. Windscribe and TunnelBear are two of the better known options.
Another option to bypass Kremlin censorship is Lantern. While the name sounds foreign, it’s actually an American company. Lantern aims to make its network unbreakable.
For the past few months, Russia’s Internet regulator has blocked thousands of websites that link to VPN services. However, not all VPN providers have been approached by the authority. Some of these are legitimate services that are trying to provide a service to users, while others are merely trying to evade the rules.
Russian music market on the rise before the invasion of Ukraine
As Russia invades Ukraine, the country’s cultural life is being disrupted. The war has spurred Ukrainians to separate from their Russian culture. It has also resulted in a ban on some Russian music in public spaces.
In the early 1960s, avant-garde composers such as Boris Lyatoshinsky, Lev Revutsky and Mykola Leontovich established an individual voice within Soviet musical culture. However, this voice was stifled by the Communist state.
When the USSR was still in existence, music was a tool used to express ethnic and political differences. In the 1930s, Stalin enacted the Holodomor, a famine that resulted in the deaths of millions. His efforts to erase Ukraine’s national identity were called the “executed renaissance.”
After the invasion, the Russian government has been actively trying to destroy the Ukrainian culture. A series of billboards in the Russian-occupied city of Kherson showed images of the poet Pushkin. These images were meant to convey a link to Kherson and the city’s role in Pushkin’s work.
The Russian invasion accelerated the development of the Ukrainian rap scene. At first, rappers heavily influenced by Russian musicians dominated the scene. But over time, the rappers began to turn away from the music.
Many artists and labels have decided to stop promoting shows in Russia. Live Nation, a promoter, has even pulled out of the country. Some Western artists, such as Green Day, have also canceled concerts.
Label executives are concerned about their staff in Russia, which they are unable to pay. Payment services, such as Visa and Mastercard, have stopped processing payments from Russian customers. Even Spotify, which has a service in Russia, is scaling back advertising to keep it running.
While the ban will not apply to all Russian music, many major record labels are scrambling to support their staff and employees in Russia. They are also worried about the economic fallout from the sanctions.
Aside from the music ban, Russia is facing other challenges. There is a growing risk of oil exports being frozen due to the Russia-Ukraine war. Also, the Russian banking system has been frozen by Western sanctions.