Russia is continuing its pressure on Google to censor political political opinion that the government does not like. Media censor Roskomnadzor has sent a letter to Google insisting that it stop promoting banned mass events on YouTube.
It particularly didn't like that YouTube channels were using push notifications and other measures to spread information about protests, such as the recent demonstrations objecting to Moscow banning some opposition politicians from running in
upcoming elections. Some users are allegedly receiving these alerts even if they're not subscribed to the channels.
The Russian agency said it would treat continued promotion as interference in the sovereign affairs of the country and consider Google a hostile influence ostensibly bent on obstructing elections.
Political protests have continued to grow in Russia (the most recent had about 50,000 participants), and they've turned increasingly from the Moscow-specific complaints to general dissatisfaction with President Putin's anti-democratic policies.
Back in March, ten major VPN providers including NordVPN, ExpressVPN, IPVanish and HideMyAss were ordered by Russian authorities to begin blocking sites present in the country's national blacklist. Following almost total non-compliance, the
country's internet censor says that blocking nine of the services is now imminent.
Back in March, telecoms watchdog Roscomnadzor wrote to ten major VPN providers -- NordVPN, ExpressVPN, TorGuard, IPVanish, VPN Unlimited, VyprVPN, Kaspersky Secure Connection, HideMyAss!, Hola VPN, and OpenVPN -- ordering them to connect to the
database. All teh foreign companies refused to comply.
Only teh Russia based company,Kaspersky Secure Connection, connected to the registry, Roscomnadzor chief Alexander Zharov informs Interfax .
Russian law says unequivocally if the company refuses to comply with the law -- it should be blocked. And it appears that Roscomnadzor is prepared to carry through with its threat. When questioned on the timeline for blocking, Zharov said that
the matter could be closed within a month.
Rocketman is a 2019 UK / USA musical music biography by Dexter Fletcher.
Starring Bryce Dallas Howard, Taron Egerton and Richard Madden.
A musical fantasy about the fantastical human story of Elton John's breakthrough years.
During the Russian premiere of Rocketman on 30th May in Moscow, film goers noticed the 40s gay male sex scene between Elton John (Taron Egerton) and manager, John Reid (Richard Madden) was missing.
Film critic Anton Dolin saw the original version in Cannes and remarked the Russian edit cut out scenes of kissing, sex and oral sex between men. This included a photo of Elton John and his husband David Furnish in the closing credits. It also
didn't show scenes featuring drug and alcohol use. Around five minutes in total was missing from the Russian cut of Rocketman.
Maybe the 5 minutes may be an exaggeration. Not also that there are Russian laws banning the 'promotion' of gay sex so such censorship may be a legal necessity rather than a morality decision by the film censor.
Update: Russian distributors blasted by Elton John
Elton John has hit out at Russian film distributors for editing out gay sex scenes from his biopic Rocketman, adding that it was a sad reflection of the divided world we still live in.
The local film distributor, Central Partnership company told news agency TASS that it cut the scenes to comply with Russian legislation
The decision to remove the scenes was made solely by the distributor, Russia's Culture Ministry told TASS, adding that it issued no recommendations concerning the scenes.
Film critic Dolin said the grossest thing about the Russian edit was that the final caption had been removed from the closing credits. In the original, it says that Elton John found the love of his life and is raising children with the man he
loves (there is a dramatic moment in the film when his mother says to him 'you are doomed to be lonely'). In the Russian version it says the musician set up a foundation to fight AIDS and is still working with a long-time co-author.