Telegramming Protest


It’s now been about two weeks since Roskomnadzor has started (trying to) block the Telegram messaging app within Russia.

Let’s review what has been achieved:

  1. 15-20 million IPs have been continuously blocked since mid-April, affecting cloud servers used by legitimate enterprises and news sites within Russia.

  2. Meanwhile, Telegram itself hasn’t been blocked.

3. Knowledge of VPN has spread from online gamblers and political freaks who read marginal liberal and nationalist webzines to normies.

  1. Meanwhile, a whole bunch of aforementioned “extremist” sites have been getting accidentally unblocked (you can test availability with this tool).

5. Large parts of the Russian bureaucratic apparatus and state-owned corporations have simply ignored all this and continued using Telegram.

6. They have now pretty much single-handedly kickstarted the 2018 protest season, with around 12,000 protesters turning up on a working day and on very short notice to an Internet freedom rally organized by the Libertarian Party (!).

Also a reminder that Roskomnadzor gets more than 10% of the funding accruing to the institution producing ~40% of Russian high quality research

  • Budget of Roskomnadzor – 8.5 billion rubles (2017)
  • Budget of Russian Academy of Sciences – 74 billion rubles (2017)

Note that these are just the facts. They should not be interpreted as attacking or denigrating the feelings of Roskomnadzor believers.

Anatoly Karlin is a transhumanist interested in psychometrics, life extension, UBI, crypto/network states, X risks, and ushering in the Biosingularity.


Inventor of Idiot’s Limbo, the Katechon Hypothesis, and Elite Human Capital.


Apart from writing booksreviewstravel writing, and sundry blogging, I Tweet at @powerfultakes and run a Substack newsletter.


  1. Seems to confirming the first rule of politics: the politicians are people who are too intelligent to be satisfied as physical workers, but not intelligent enough to achieve success in anything else. Addendum: when thinking whether politicians did something because of malice or because of stupidity, the safe bet is the stupidity.

  2. reiner Tor says

    I think this article amounts to incitement against Roskomnadzor. Love trumps hate, and a good three years in prison would trump Karlin.

  3. Mr. Hack says

    Russia ha a long history of government censorship. If people read the ‘wrong’ type of information or opinion pieces, they have a propensity to start questioning the status quo. Best to let the powers that be do the thinking for the people, and continue sending approved messages of contentment. If anything, Roskomnadzor needs a larger budget to help it widen and improve its important work.

  4. Felix Keverich says

    I’m team Roskomnadzor. Never used Telegram, won’t start using it now.

    The kind of people, who would throw a fit over website are pathetic and deserve to get griefed by Roskomnadzor.

    This fight might go on for some time, but eventually Google and Amazon will dump Telegram.

  5. Mr. Hack says

    Roskomnadzor – Oligarchical Collectivism:

  6. Their budget is small compared to American budgets.

    Consider that President Obama’s Administration had spent $2 billion, to build a single healthcare website.

  7. Felix Keverich says

    The Kremlin displayed real leadership with its move to block Telegram, and now other countries are following suit.

  8. Incidentally, we are now reaching some kind of singularity point to the absurd.

    On Facebook, Natasha Timakova (Medvedev’s press sec) has advised Natalia Kostenko (a United Russia MP) to install VPN to bypass the Telegram ban.

  9. Mr. Hack says

    What do you mean by ‘absurd’ Anatoly? Others here seem to think that‘ The Kremlin displayed real leadership’ here? 🙂

  10. The result of the policy intention, is government will get more bargaining power in relation to internet companies, including facebook/google.

    But policy execution was less skilful.

  11. Hyperborean says

    I agree, if done properly this may have been a good tactic by the authorities. Telegram only seems like a Russian company in a very nominal way and it would be good to encourage Russian cyber self-sufficiency.

    It would probably have been better to have done it slower, set up substitute software, make sure everything works etc.

    However the, flawed to say the least, implementation of the Telegram block has really left the Kremlin with egg on its face. It really was worse than a crime.

    So much for Western fever dreams about Russian cyberpunk hackers meddling in elections worldwide like mask-wearing puppeteers.

  12. anony-mouse says

    Yup, great minds:

    With bonus: Freemasons

  13. I’m with Felix on this one. It may not be pretty, but I’ll still take the dumb blunt force of the Russian state apparatus over the whiny vegetarian technofag. Roskompozor’s incompetence is slightly annoying, however; I can only access Zerohedge on a VPN now, which is pretty funny considering that it’s the closest thing out there to a Russia-friendly mainstream English language media resource.

  14. Gerard1234 says

    So what? Russian politicians and media were advising the the same thing to Ukrainians when the retarded Kiev regime decided to ban VK, Yandex
    Claims about “chaos” from the authorities implementation of the ban are mainly bollocks, the vast majority of the internet is working fine, problems have been temporary ….but this is what liberasts like Anatoly impersonating patriots do …they hype-up non-existent/irrelevant “errors” by the authorities into something big….much like they claim every pensioner is living in a wooden shack, no functioning hospital exists and so on

    …and even those moaning about it will eventually switch from blaming the authorities blaming Telegram for their brinksmanship.

  15. Felix Keverich says

    Karlin is no liberal. But he has been living in America for too long. His affinity for “internet freedom” (or the “gun rights”) is not at all Russian, and I personally find it difficult to understand.

    Sputnik i Pogrom has a similar issue. Their Russian nationalism is of peculiar kind. You can tell reading their articles that what they really want is to remake Russia into a better version of USA.

  16. reiner Tor says


    Greece, Tsipras:

    Apparently Tsipras is working on giving citizenship to masses of immigrants, to achieve better electoral results. He should’ve been hanged for his peculiar combination of brinkmanship and cucking during the 2015 crisis, but this amounts to open treason. He’s probably worse for Greece than Blair was for the UK.

  17. Mr. Hack says

    it would be good to encourage Russian cyber self-sufficiency.

    Why? What was wrong with the way it was? Personally, I’m against government interference with internet access and freedom of speech whether in Russia, Europe, Asia or in the US. Hands off Big Brother, wherever you are! Karlin is right to be indignant.

  18. LondonBob says

    So looks like all the WC tickets have sold. Still got my England Panama tickets but have returned my second round tickets at Spartak Moscow. Didn’t expect to get both my allocation and can’t really spend two weeks in Russia that going to both games would require. Surprised more didn’t apply in the earlier rounds like I did, or did Russians just wait for the last minute phase before taking the plunge?

  19. reiner Tor says


    Here’s some info on the Netanyahu speech:

  20. Mr. Hack says

    The result of the policy intention, is government will get more bargaining power in relation to internet companies, including facebook/google.

    ‘Bargaining power’ to do just what comrade? To provide the government with even more controls at curbing the expression of freedom of speech – more government control…censorship?

  21. Polish Perspective says

    So the EU unveiled their latest budget today. Or, to be more specific, their budget proposal. Some highlights:

    1. The budget increases in size, despite losing a big net contributor. The actual change for the individual countries is quite slim, though. We’re talking maybe 0.2% of GNI extra per year, at most. The extra cost will only be acceptable to the net contributors if they get extra control. This is natural and understandable – which is also a key reason why I want to cut EU cohesion funds to zero. There’s no such thing as a free lunch, after all.
    2. The much-talked about “rule of law” mechanism is indeed in the proposal. It basically works like this: if the commission decides that a country is ‘threatening fundamental EU values’ then they send a request for comment. Said country has “no more than a month to reply”. After this, the commission makes a decision to either suspend the money or not.

    If the commission – one the three main EU bodies (the other two being the parliament and the council) – decides to suspend funding then you will need a qualified reverse majority to stop that action from being taken. What’s that, you ask? Basically means that instead of the current system, where you had to have complete unanimity to take a decision, the decision will be taken to be granted as default and in order to stop it, you need a qualified majority. Completely changes the game.

    After all, a country which has the EU commission on its back is by definition already diplomatically isolated, the chances of it scrambling together a diplomatic coalition representing a majority is slim to none, which of course the commission knows.

    This is a proposal for now, and it will not be signed into law until May of next year. It is unlikely that it will survive the diplomatic haggling until then in its current form, but somekind of ‘rule of law’ mechanism will almost surely be present, but the question is to what extent, if at all, the CEE countries can water it down. It’s essentially an arbitrary mechanism which allows political control from Brussels. It also marks a sharp divergence from the past, when cohesion funding was solely based on economic factors(PPP-adjusted per capita GDP) to much broader and vaguer definitions which can be interpreted very arbitrarily to fit political objectives. Which is of course the point.

    Still, a year of diplomatic haggling will now be ahead of us until the final deal will be sealed in May of 2019. The budget will officially start 2021, though in practice it is really 2023, given that the budget follows a n+2 schedule. Which means that a country can use two extra years after the last budget for projects they didn’t complete in time (almost every country uses this. The last such n+2 year was 2015, when a huge amount of investments were realised, which pushed up growth). Therefore the full effects of this won’t be felt for at least five years. And that is assuming the current proposal survives unscathed.

  22. Thorfinnsson says

    I don’t agree with Dmitry’s take (the purpose is obviously censorship and outright corruption), but it’s worth noting that Goolag and Fagbook are hostile foreign enterprises which are joined to the hip with the Five Eyes.

    Any self-respecting country that desires independence must ban them completely. To be honest I assume the only reason they have not been banned in Russia is that Putin is a baby boomer and doesn’t get it.

  23. Thorfinnsson says

    Not Russian nor will I even attempt to portray the Russian point of view.

    But happy to portray the American one:

    1 – Censorship is extremely irritating
    2 – The current regime (in almost every country) is intolerable, which requires that we disseminate propaganda so we can destroy it
    3 – Fuck control freaks and bureaucrats

    As for gun rights:

    1 – Guns are cool and fun to begin with
    2 – Guns allow us to protect ourselves
    3 – Guns give us hope we can overthrow tyranny
    4 – Guns give us hope we can defeat a foreign invasion

    Obviously of course it’s easy to see why any government would take a different view based on how I just laid this out. And I have some sympathy for censorship based on the experience of the Restoration. Number 2 on guns might seem strange to you as a Russian, but many Western elites worship criminals and work very hard to unleash crime waves.

  24. I don’t know if it’s rude to talk about the host of the blog on their blog – hopefully not.

    On the discussion about whether Karlin is American or liberal.

    The correct answer – probably he is half-way to America. Having used his forum for past several months as the place to discuss politics – I start to feel almost American myself.

    And we get all the vocabulary like ‘cucks’ and ‘poz’.

    It’s understandable to get into the American ideology, because there are more conflicts and ideological discussions that you can blog about in the English language.

    As for whether he is liberal. His psychology is obviously oppositionist. I guess his milieu was originally liberal in America – and he takes oppositionist front to them.

    So probably the term ‘counter-liberal’ is a good one for the blog.

  25. Fundamentally, I like what works.

    For instance, 1950s America worked very well. Not so much the modern version.

  26. You could see this blog as the ‘Jungian shadow’ of the (only?) other professional ‘Russia’ analyst Julia Ioffe.

    Ioffe and Karlin understood as Jungian shadows of each other: Ioffe is the ultra conformist of the ruling American ideology; Karlin, the opposite. Ioffe is the ultimate careerist; Karlin the opposite – obviously. Ioffe tries to persuade her audience in every sentence; Karlin the opposite allows us to think what we want. It’s impossible to write a comment under Ioffe post; whereas with Karlin it is more like interactive discussion group.

    Also in their skills – Ioffe writes literary, ten page articles, with no facts or data; Karlin blogs with a few graphs.

    Some might claim that Karlin is the evil twin of Ioffe. But clearly, – it is the other way round: Ioffe is the evil twin of Karlin.

    In terms of whether Ioffe reads here? She follows the official Twitter account of the Karlin blog according to unfollowspy.

  27. You can read the story yourself. The main issue at the moment is whether facebook is complying to store its data inside the country.

    The argument with facebook will be a kind of digital equivalent story of what happened with Macdonald’s. Macdonald was successfully encouraged or negotiated to now import substitute and onshore almost all its ingredients production.

  28. Felix Keverich says

    Fundamentally, I like what works.

    For instance, 1950s America worked very well.

    It was unstable. It quickly gave way to the current abomination. Which means there was something fundamentally flawed about it. There is something fundametally flawed about Western civilisation in general.

  29. Yes, finding a mechanism to maintain a steady state between progress and poz is a very hard, but critical – some might say the critical – problem of political science.

  30. Hyperborean says

    Because foreign cyber companies carry a significant risk of espionage, and it helps nurture domestic IT industry (if done properly).

    Perhaps the Kremlin is not the best protector of Russian interests – Mr. Karlin has given us plenty of reasons why it is not over the years.

    Nevertheless the Western cyber companies like Facebook and Google are willing, even enthusiastic, accomplices in bringing ultraliberalism to foreign lands and little good comes from allowing them free reign in Russia.

    As for whether censorship is a good thing or not – while we could engage in classical Liberal arguments about the worth of freedom of information ultimately it seems to come down to values. I currently live in a country which often gets criticised for large-scale censorship and while it can be slightly annoying at times I can understand why the authorities do it.

    I agree with Felix Keverich’s point.
    Despite you, Karlin and AP considering yourself Russian or Ukrainian nationalists it seems that living in the USA for extended periods of time has made you adopt a very American worldview (Gun rights, rule of law, freedom of speech, political pluralism etc. Things Americans tend to support – at least verbally if not in practice).
    This is not a criticism, I just think it should be taken into account when reading your arguments.

  31. For all the ‘experts’ claiming Roskomnadzor is incompetent: how do you propose Russia block Telegram, taking into consideration its widely spread hosting archictecture is especially suited to withstand DoS attacks, easily switching from an IP to another, all owned by internet giants whose services are used by other companies as well?

    If any Roskomnadzor critic can come up with a method that works without blocking the IP range used by Telegram (a range that is also used by other Russian websites) without affecting other websites then I’m all ears. Here’s the deal: it’s just not possible, and critics are either acting out of malice against the Russian government or know jackshit about the subject. Roskomnadzor is hoping Google and Amazon will come to terms with the Russian government or face losing major customers in the name of defending Telegram, which is not pragmatic at all.

  32. Bukephalos says

    Do we know that for sure? If we take imperial Germany we see a society that achieved technological and scientific primacy, and affluence with standards of living quickly growing and steadily converging toward British levels all the way into WWI- all under a conservative social order and without succumbing to demotism.

    Can we infer that their society would necessarily have suffered the same cultural degeneracy, tendency toward cultural self-destruction over the long term, as observed in Anglo-American countries with the steady march of material and technological progress? Or is the problem specifically rooted in Anglo-Saxon culture? Alternatively the problem may be deeper, as Felix Keverich writes, a deeper flaw in Western civilization and Enlightenment values (which have British origins ultimately anyway). Ultimately an affliction of North-Western Euros. Watching how an advanced country like Japan can largely avoid these tendencies (and probably China too, but we’d have to wait a little longer to be sure), there is food for thought.

  33. Thorfinnsson says

    The Enlightenment has French origins, not British.

    The Kaiserreich resisted political liberalism and the suffragettes, but it also featured highly developed homo-sexualism.

    Demotism is a stupid concept.

    Russians are prone to paint Western civilization as damaged goods for obvious reasons.

  34. Mr. Hack says

    You’re right, I am influenced a lot by American values, as is Ron Unz the founder of this blogs site. His pieces exposing the recent malicious censorship being perpetrated by YouTube certainly struck a chord with me. So you see, we Americans can be equal opportunity critics of the various mechanisms of censorship experienced throughout the world.

  35. Mr. Hack says

    ‘Five Eyes’, sound like a criminal enterprise in an old Charlie Chan movie?

    BTW, I commend you for taking the big first step in the treatment program I suggested to you. You seem much calmer now and your rhetoric is now even interesting to read. 🙂

  36. Bukephalos says

    My critique comes from a Med point of view instead of Russian. I will readily admit that Meds have been pretty much languishing, and despite important Italian contributions to the advent of more modern forms of banking and commerce, arts, and early scientific breakthroughs, Northwestern euros were quick to take over with a much longer list of scientific advances, mass literacy, and early industrialism- pretty quickly the history of the West and its achievements gets confused with theirs. Starting from the late Renaissance and on, with Meds being the losers/laggards of the story.

    Much like we can admire the contributions of the ancient Mediterranean to human civilization while recognizing its failings and long decline- a similar attitude will soon be necessary with the “West” which is experiencing nothing short of decadence and quick degeneration. A few more decades under neoliberal regimes and current ailments will become totally crippling and impossible to reverse- if only because of demographics. Forming a huge class of helots malcontents is always a double-edged sword, as the history of Sparta testifies. For centuries the power of the polity rested on toiling Messenians they reduced to the status of semi-slaves while Spartans would remain professional warriors. Until the Thebans finally freed the Messenians after the battle of Leuctra in 371. Spartan power was then irreversibly and terminally diminished having lost most of its helot population, now permanently hostile and allied to foreigners. The lesson here is that having your turf (Peloponnesus) swamped with masses of inferior status is never a good idea for long term stability.

    The Enlightenment has French origins, not British.

    Anglomanie was a thing in France and British ideas are often advanced as the early influence of the Lumières by French historians.

  37. Hyperborean says

    It was not my intention to accuse you of hypocrisy. If you interpreted it that way then I apologise. While I disagree with many of your views you seem coherent and like you are acting in good faith.

    My point is that the rest of the world is not America’s little brother; American values are, despite the rhetoric, not universal.

    If you want to argue for American values like gun rights or free speech, then you must provide arguments for why other nationalities should adopt your ways. It is not enough to simply say that it should be so; foreigners who don’t already agree with you will simply find your statements not culturally relevant.

    I disagree with the way many non-American criticise or mock (‘stupid’, ‘ignorant’) American society, especially when these people are themselves very Americanised in their worldview and habits.

    I think that American customs and internal affairs should be left to Americans, just like I would avoid critiquing Kuwaiti or Thai society.

    However, I am also against attacks by America or her satellites against other peoples’ customs and ways of doing things.

    As Russia is facing a momentous, long-term attack against her values, dignity and sovereignty by the powers who sit in Washington, Berlin, Bruxelles, London and other captured capitals it is necessary to minimise the threat of internal subversion and external levers of pressure.

    Therefore Russia needs to develop cyber-sufficiency and reduce the power of foreign companies in the IT sector as part of regaining more independence and freedom of action.

    This is far more important than facing American criticism for not behaving like Anglo-Saxons.

  38. The Big Red Scary says

    When I was growing up in the not-so-distant past, my friend’s older brother opined that
    guys with an earring in the left ear are cool, guys with an earring in the right ear are fags, and so guys with earrings in both ears must be cool fags. That was the maximum of wokeness that I encountered before university.

    Something in me doesn’t want to believe that liberal education and mass media can so profoundly change social norms, but I see no other explanation for the rapid growth of the poz. I’m afraid some law of moral entropy is at work and that no amount of traditionalist propaganda is going to recover lost ground. The bungling of the Telegram situation is only a small indication of what to expect if you have the government directly confront the poz.

    One has to take a more indirect approach, redistributing status from pseudointellectuals to real scientists and engineers, with the more serious social scientists kept on a short leash by the hard scientists. In particular, one has to cultivate sensible public intellectuals and have them publicly debate the degenerates.

    (If even Vladimir Posner can make Garry Kasparov look like a fool…:

    One could achieve the transfer of status mostly in terms of incentives, by reorganizing funding institutions so that pyschology is subordinated to neuroscience and economics to applied mathematics, with the pseudosciences being completely cut off from government funds. As for traditional subjects like history and literature, which do require some continued cultivation for the well-being of high culture, triple tuition while providing some elite scholarships, so that society is not burdened with a bunch of half-educated fools. It will probably also be necessary to provide tuition wavers for those studying these subjects to become high school teachers.

    But again. Not holding my breath.

  39. Mr. Hack says

    If, as you suggest, foreign IT companies like Facebook are indeed spawning grounds for espionage activities, then I can understand that the Russian government is entitled to put the clamps down on any such activity. If, on the other hand if Roskomnadzor is meddling with these types of accounts in order to help censor the Russian citizenry from more open access to any outside information, then I’m against any such actions. Freedom of speech for me is a universal value, that should not be limited by any so called national cultural ‘customs’ or ‘dignity’ or ‘sovereignty’ issues.

    Since Karlin has not embellished much from his original spin, it would be helpful if he could clarify his stance on some of these points.