Telegram, one of the world's most popular messaging apps, has been banned in Russia. Telegram was ordered to hand over its encryption keys to the Russian government late last month, and this ban is the country's answer to Telegram declining to do so.
The order was filed by Roskomnadzor (AKA The Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, Information Technology and Mass Media) and was approved by Russia's court on April 13. Speaking to TASS News, Judge Yulia Smolina said –
The court decided to meet the requirements of Roskomnadzor, impose restrictions on access to Telegram messenger and stop providing technical conditions for the exchange of messages.
Pavel Durov, Telegram's Founder and CEO, says that its users in Russia will still be able to use the app thanks to "built-in systems", but the use of a VPN will likely be required for full access. There's no exact date as to when the ban will go into effect, but Roskomnadzor has already added the app to its official list of banned websites.
Speaking on behalf of the company, Telegram's lawyer, Pavel Chikov, stated –
They [the Russian governemnt] have demonstrated again and again that the court system is devoted to serving the interests of the authorities. They no longer even care about external appearances.
Telegram's battle with the Russian government initially began in 2017 when it first decided to not provide access to its encryption keys for users' messages, but the Federal Security Service has been on the messaging service ever since.