Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Eberly College of Arts and Sciences



Committee Chair

Robert Blobaum.

Committee Co-Chair

Mark Tauger

Committee Member

Elizabeth Fones-Wolf


The purpose of this work is to provide an analysis of the contemporary state of the Russian internet in regards to both the freedom of information within it and the government's influence over it. This project also examines the potential state of that situation in the coming years. Public statements, government actions, and media interactions with the government were analyzed in an effort to find trends relating to the government's influence over the media since the collapse of the Soviet Union. These trends show an increased tightening of the Kremlin's control over the media (especially since the rise to power of Vladimir Putin) as well as a pattern of the government undercutting its own statements about speech protection with its actions. In addition, an examination of the strategies and tools utilized by the United States and China in regard to the internet was conducted in order to determine the options available to the Russian government. This was also done to find shared practices and ways that they might further evolve in the future. The Kremlin has both publicly stated and inferred its desire to look into the practices of these states. Both the U.S. and China have shown their ability to intimidate organizations and businesses in an effort to influence internet content, and have enhanced their legal ability to control it. They also utilize technical means to filter content and disrupt websites and use their influence to coerce individuals into self-censorship. The findings, including leaked government documents and interviews, provide a basis for concluding that the Russian government has greatly tightened its grip over the internet in recent years. This analysis also suggests governmental controls over the internet will only increase as the amount of Russian internet users continues to grow (as projections show it will).