Russia's Federal Security Service closes down Pravda.Ru's Russian version over Danish caricatures

The visitors of Pravda.Ru website have been deprived of a possibility to access the website and its materials today. The main Russian version of the Pravda.Ru portal has been closed today.

The message, which appears on the blank white page, says that the site has been closed down pursuant to the requirement from the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation.

Chairman of Pravda.Ru Board of Directors, Vadim Gorshenin, said that the office of Pravda.Ru received an email from masterhost Internet provider on Thursday morning. The company particularly informed Pravda.Ru about a letter which they had received from the Federal Security Service of Russia. The letter said that the provider should take measures to remove several materials from the Pravda.Ru website, particularly those stirring up religious strife.

“We have never received the letter from the Federal Security Service. We have not been informed about the materials that we need to remove. That is why the administration of the website has decided to shut down access to Pravda.Ru through the front page of the resource,” Vadim Gorshenin said.

The email received from the Internet provider ran:

“We herewith would like to inform you of an inquiry from the Federal Security Service of the Russian Federation which contained a request to remove several controversial materials from the Pravda.Ru website which stir up inter-confessional hostility (it goes about the so-called Danish caricatures). We kindly ask you to remove the materials from your resources and inform us of the adequate measures.”

Vadim Gorshenin, the chairman of Pravda.Ru Board of Directors, said that the website had never published the notorious cartoons. Pravda.Ru has sent an email to the Internet provider asking to clarify all the points on the matter, particularly where the cartoons could be found on the website and who in the FSB ordered to send the above-mentioned message to masterhost.

Vadim Gorshenin sincerely hopes to receive the complete information on the issue. The situation could be interpreted as “an ungrounded attack against mass media” as he said. Mr. Gorshenin also said that he was quite confused about the way the FSB had presented its claims to Pravda.Ru. According to him, it would be more logical to address the administration of the online newspaper, but not the technical support team.

A spokesman for the Internet provider company Masterhost, Ruslan Kurekin, said that they had received a letter saying that the websites of Pravda.Ru and Karikatura.Ru contained the materials, which could fuel religious hostility in the society. Masterhost subsequently contacted Pravda.Ru, the administration of which decided to temporarily close the access to the website.

The main page of the Pravda.Ru website has posted a link to the official statement from the Pravda.Ru administration. The statement says that Pravda.Ru expects to receive explanations and apologies from the Federal Security Service of Russia.


Translated by Dmitry Sudakov

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Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov