Russia’s interior minister called on Tuesday for limits on the Internet to prevent a slide in traditional cultural values among young people, raising fears of controls over the vibrant Russian-language web
Many of Russia’s 53 million web users fear that hardliners around Prime Minister Vladimir Putin would like to impose Chinese-style limits on the Internet to stave off any potential Arab Spring-style unrest ahead of the presidential election.
Russia’s iPad-wielding president, Dmitry Medvedev, has ruled out draconian controls while suggesting a discussion of how to deal with clearly illegal content such as child pornography.
Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev is the most senior official to publicly propose limits for cultural reasons.
“It is necessary to work out a set of measures for limiting the activities of certain Internet resources without encroaching on the free exchange of information,” ITAR-TASS quoted him as telling an inter-ministerial meeting on fighting extremism.
Nurgaliyev, who did not indicate which sites he felt should be curbed, said that Russia’s youth needed looking after to prevent young people from being corrupted by “lopsided” ideas, especially in music, that may undermine traditional values.
“It seems to me that the time has long been ripe to carry out monitoring in the country to find out what they are listening to, what they are reading, what they are watching,” he was quoted as saying of Russia’s youth.