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Putin rules out restrictions on the Internet

Little Russian Girl at LaptopMOSCOW, April 20 (RIA Novosti) - Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has played down the prospect of China-style Internet censorship in Russia, just two weeks after the FSB, the country's domestic security service demanded access to net communication services like Gmail and Skype.

The FSB's proposal caused alarm among Russia's estimated 60 million Internet users, who say it is disturbingly reminiscent of the recent repressive past.

The FSB claimed the "uncontrolled use of these services could lead to a large-scale threat to Russian security."

"The Internet is a tool for solving social and administrative problems; it is an opportunity to communicate, to express yourself, it is a tool for improving your living standards," Putin said in a Q&A session after what could be his final address to parliament as premier on Wednesday.

"The main resources are situated oversees, and this has been a source for concern for the special services," he went on. "But I personally think that it is not possible to restrict anything."

The FSB's proposal came just days before a massive cyber attack on prominent blogging site LiveJournal, used as an outlet by Russia's opposition and civil movements. President Dmitry Medvedev, whose blog was affected by the attack, demanded that those responsible were tracked down.

Runet, a moniker for Russia's Internet sector, has been largely free of government controls compared with traditional media.


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