Russia plans to disconnect from the internet
Tech providers are planning to temporarily cut the Russian internet off from the worldwide web amid attempts to increase government control of information flows.
A group of major private and state telecoms led by Natalya Kaspersky, co-founder of Kaspersky Lab antivirus maker, have decided to conduct the test to disconnect "Runet" from the rest of the internet before April 1 - the deadline for amendments to legislation that would ostensibly allow Russia to protect itself from foreign aggression in the digital sphere.
In particular, politicians are worried that Western accusations of Russian hacking could lead to retaliatory cyberattacks and are trying to develop a way to isolate the Russian internet.
The bill would require telecoms to be able to redirect all traffic through routing points controlled by the Russian state.
Experts have said developing such sweeping capabilities, if not impossible, would be very expensive and could lead to major disruptions in the functioning of the internet.
There is also the threat of censorship, as the system would be monitored by the state communications oversight agency Roskomnadzor, which is known for banning both extremist speech and criticism of the Kremlin.
Human rights group Agora called the bill a "serious threat to internet freedom".
But the cabinet and Vladimir Putin's internet adviser are in favour of the law. The president famously once called the internet a "CIA project".
Moscow looks to be moving towards a model similar to China, where certain words are blocked and users cannot connect to blacklisted sites.