A cache of nearly 160,000 files from Russia’s powerful internet regulator provides a rare glimpse inside Vladimir V. Putin’s digital crackdown.
Roughly 800 miles east of Moscow, authorities in the Republic of Bashkortostan, one of Russia’s 85 regions, were busy tabulating the mood of comments in social media messages. They marked down YouTube posts that they said criticized the Russian government. They noted the reaction to a local protest.
Then they compiled their findings. One report about the “destabilization of Russian society” pointed to an editorial from a news site deemed “oppositional” to the government that said President Vladimir V. Putin was pursuing his own self-interest by invading Ukraine. A dossier elsewhere on file detailed who owned the site and where they lived.
Another Feb. 28 dispatch, titled “Presence of Protest Moods,” warned that some had expressed support for demonstrators and “spoke about the need to stop the war.”