Several Russian internet service providers are preventing users inside the country from accessing Google News after Russian generals accused a mercenary leader, Yevgeny V. Prigozhin, of attempting a coup.
At least five telecommunications companies — including Rostelecom, U-LAN and Telplus — have blocked Google News, which aggregates news from various sources, according to an analysis from NetBlocks, an internet observatory. Several other internet service providers have begun reducing access as well, according to the analysis.
Google didn’t immediately respond to a request for a comment.
Late Friday, Russian officials accused Mr. Prigozhin, the leader of the Wagner Group, a mercenary organization, of trying to mount a coup against President Vladimir V. Putin, with Russian authorities opening an investigation into Mr. Prigozhin for “organizing an armed rebellion.”
Russia’s internet regulator, Roskomnadzor, said in March 2022 that it would block Google News from the country’s internet users after the company paused advertising in Russia and took steps to block online content that spread false information to support Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Roskomnadzor is part of a larger tech apparatus that Mr. Putin has built over the years to exert control through technology channels. Apart from tightly supervising Russia’s internet, authorities also use a domestic spying system that intercepts phone calls and internet traffic, spread online disinformation campaigns and hack other nations’ government systems.
After Russia invaded Ukraine last year, many Western technology companies pulled their services and products out of Russia or were blocked. TikTok and Netflix suspended their services in the country. Facebook was blocked. Twitter was partly blocked and Apple, Samsung, Microsoft, Oracle, Cisco and others pulled back or withdrew entirely.