Russian President Vladimir Putin charged Thursday that the Internet is a project developed and ran by the CIA, and that Russia will continue to fight to squelch dissent online.
The Kremlin has been eager to place more restrictions on the Internet, where many opposition activists have been able to promote their ideologies and organize protests.
Russia’s parliament this week passed a law requiring social media websites to keep their servers in Russia and save all information about their users for at least six months. Investors allied with Mr. Putin have also gained control of Russia’s leading social media network, VKontakte, the Associated Press reported.
Mr. Putin said Thursday at a media forum in St. Petersburg that the Internet originally was a “CIA project” and “is still developing as such,” according to AP.
Mr. Putin said that to order to resist Western influence, Russia needs to “fight for its interests” online.