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Moscow furious after the closure of the Duma’s YouTube account

State Duma Speaker Vyacheslav Volodin claimed that blocking “Douma-TV” was a Washington measure that violated “the rights” of Russians. “The United States wants to have a monopoly on the dissemination of information,” he said on his Telegram account. “We cannot allow this.” AFP journalists in Moscow found that the account in question was no longer accessible on YouTube on Saturday.

YouTube has signed its own conviction

According to Google, the channel has been shut down due to recent sanctions announced by the US government. “Google is committed to complying with all applicable sanctions and trade laws. If an account violates our terms of service, we will take appropriate action,” a group spokesperson said in a statement to AFP.

According to Moscow, the “Douma-TV” account had more than 145,000 subscribers on YouTube. It broadcast live broadcasts of parliament and interviews with Russian MPs. “YouTube has signed its own conviction,” Russian diplomacy spokesman Maria Zakharova told Telegram, calling for the “quick” transfer of YouTube content to Russian video platforms.

Google access also on hold

In recent weeks, amid the conflict in Ukraine, YouTube has already been accused by Moscow of blocking the accounts of pro-Kremlin media and Russian officials. Russian telecom police officer Roskomnadzor accused Google and YouTube of “terrorist” activity in March, foreshadowing a possible blockage in Russia of the site, such as Twitter, Instagram and several other independent media outlets since the offensive in Ukraine.

The Russian authorities have stepped up their pressure and legal arsenal to control communications about the conflict in Russia, threatening up to 15 years in prison for spreading “false information” about the Russian military. Roskomnadzor on Thursday banned Google from advertising its services in Russia after he accused YouTube of spreading “false information” about Russian troops.

Moscow wants to develop ‘Rutube’, YouTube’s Russian competitor

Like in many other countries, YouTube is widely used in Russia, both by ordinary users for entertainment or information, as well as by ministries or institutions to distribute their content. In particular, the platform is a privileged tool of imprisoned adversary Alexeï Navalny, who has spread tens of millions of views there on the corruption of Russia’s elites.

As early as 2006, Moscow launched a competing video service, Rutube, without much success. But the CEO assured Interfax Friday that he had seen a “colossal” increase in the number of videos uploaded to the platform recently.

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