Russia has asked Twitter to block access to a dozen accounts
it deems "extremist", the head of the country's telecoms
watchdog said, as Moscow seeks greater control over Internet
sites based beyond its borders.
The request to block the sites was made by the head of
communications watchdog Roskomnadzor, Alexander Zharov, at a
meeting with Colin Crowell, Twitter's head of global public
policy where the two men discussed new Internet regulations.
Following the talks, Zharov was quoted by Russian news
agencies Itar-Tass as saying: "It does not matter where the
blog has been registered ... I hope that these accounts will
be deleted as soon as possible."
The report did not identify the Twitter accounts concerned.
Last month, Twitter blocked access in Russia to an account
linked to a far-right Ukrainian nationalist group, days after
an official at the regulator threatened to cut off the
micro-blogging site completely if it did not comply with new
rules that allow the government to ban sites without a court
Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev denied at the time
there was any plan to close down Twitter.
A spokesman for Twitter, Nu Wexler, confirmed Monday's
meeting had taken place, to discuss the new legislation, but
said it had not agreed to block any further accounts in
One of several new laws on the Internet requires firms to
keep servers handling Russian traffic inside the country and
store information about users for at least six months.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has described the
Internet as a "CIA project", signed a law last month
requiring blogs with more than 3000 daily visits to register
with Roskomnadzor and adhere to rules governing the mass
The Kremlin, which denies allegations of media or Internet
censorship, also adopted a law earlier this year giving
authorities power to block websites deemed either extremist
or a threat to public order without a court ruling.
Among those websites blocked under the new rules were those
of Kremlin critics Alexei Navalny and Garry Kasparov because
they "contained calls for illegal activity".