The Daily Stormer is another step closer to being a white supremacist website without a home after getting the boot Thursday from Russian regulators.
The infamous neo-Nazi website was nearly driven offline for mocking a demonstrator killed Saturday while protesting a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, but reemerged Wednesday at a new address — dailystormer.ru — after being blacklisted by both GoDaddy and Google’s domain registration services.
Russia’s state-run internet watchdog quickly followed suit Thursday, asking the company overseeing .RU domains to expel The Stormer from its newest address.
“The Daily Stormer website promotes neo-Nazi ideology, incites racial, national and other types of social discord. In this regard, Roskomnadzor asked the Ru-center domain name registrar to promptly consider the termination of the domain name’s delegation in the national domain zone .ru,” said Alexander Zharov, the head of Roskomnadzor, the internet watchdog also known as Rozcom.
Ru-Center, the registrar, heeded the watchdog’s request, a representative for its holding company, RBC, told Russia’s TJournal news site.
“The Russian government has always been opposed to nationalists and we knew Rozcom was gonna have us suspended,” Daily Stormer administrator Andrew Auernheimer told The Washington Times Thursday. “But it made a nice troll.”
Mr. Auernheimer, a U.S. native who left the country after being cleared of a hacking conviction in 2014, pointed to the reaction from liberals who interpreted The Stormer’s move to a .ru domain as evidence of being in bed with Russia. A .ru domain doesn’t necessarily indicate a Kremlin connection, however, and Ru-Center said it automatically registered tens of thousands of domains each day.
“It was hilarious,” Mr. Auernheimer told The Times of the reaction caused by moving to a Russian domain.
Russia regulators maintain an notoriously firm grip on the nation’s internet and routinely censor websites devoted to topics ranging from homosexuality to regional politics. Yet while federal prosecutors in the attorney general’s office are typically tasked with instructing Rozcom to block extremists websites, regulators made a rare step Thursday in taking action against The Stormer on its own accord, TJournal reported.
Andrew Anglin, The Stormer’s publisher, penned an article Saturday attacking Heather Heyer, a demonstrator who was killed that afternoon while protesting a far-right rally that was advertised on his website, triggering bans from Facebook, Twitter, GoDaddy, Google and Cloudflare, among others.
He did not immediately respond to a request for comment Thursday concerning his now defunct Russian domain, but said on Gab, an alternative social media platform, that he planned to announce details soon about The Daily Stormer’s presence on the deep web, a portion of the internet not indexed by search engines and difficult to police.