Back in March, ten major VPN providers including NordVPN, ExpressVPN, IPVanish and HideMyAss were ordered by Russian authorities to begin blocking sites present in the country's national blacklist. Following almost total non-compliance, the
country's internet censor says that blocking nine of the services is now imminent.
Back in March, telecoms watchdog Roscomnadzor wrote to ten major VPN providers -- NordVPN, ExpressVPN, TorGuard, IPVanish, VPN Unlimited, VyprVPN, Kaspersky Secure Connection, HideMyAss!, Hola VPN, and OpenVPN -- ordering them to connect to the
database. All teh foreign companies refused to comply.
Only teh Russia based company,Kaspersky Secure Connection, connected to the registry, Roscomnadzor chief Alexander Zharov informs Interfax .
Russian law says unequivocally if the company refuses to comply with the law -- it should be blocked. And it appears that Roscomnadzor is prepared to carry through with its threat. When questioned on the timeline for blocking, Zharov said that
the matter could be closed within a month.
Rocketman is a 2019 UK / USA musical music biography by Dexter Fletcher.
Starring Bryce Dallas Howard, Taron Egerton and Richard Madden.
A musical fantasy about the fantastical human story of Elton John's breakthrough years.
During the Russian premiere of Rocketman on 30th May in Moscow, film goers noticed the 40s gay male sex scene between Elton John (Taron Egerton) and manager, John Reid (Richard Madden) was missing.
Film critic Anton Dolin saw the original version in Cannes and remarked the Russian edit cut out scenes of kissing, sex and oral sex between men. This included a photo of Elton John and his husband David Furnish in the closing credits. It also
didn't show scenes featuring drug and alcohol use. Around five minutes in total was missing from the Russian cut of Rocketman.
Maybe the 5 minutes may be an exaggeration. Not also that there are Russian laws banning the 'promotion' of gay sex so such censorship may be a legal necessity rather than a morality decision by the film censor.
Update: Russian distributors blasted by Elton John
Elton John has hit out at Russian film distributors for editing out gay sex scenes from his biopic Rocketman, adding that it was a sad reflection of the divided world we still live in.
The local film distributor, Central Partnership company told news agency TASS that it cut the scenes to comply with Russian legislation
The decision to remove the scenes was made solely by the distributor, Russia's Culture Ministry told TASS, adding that it issued no recommendations concerning the scenes.
Film critic Dolin said the grossest thing about the Russian edit was that the final caption had been removed from the closing credits. In the original, it says that Elton John found the love of his life and is raising children with the man he
loves (there is a dramatic moment in the film when his mother says to him 'you are doomed to be lonely'). In the Russian version it says the musician set up a foundation to fight AIDS and is still working with a long-time co-author.
In March, the Russian government's internet censor Roskomnadzor contacted 10 leading VPN providers to demand they comply with local censorship laws or risk being blocked.
Roskomnadzor equired them to hook up to a dedicated government system that defines a list of websites required to be blocked to Russian internet users.
The VPN providers contacted were ExpressVPN, NordVPN, IPVanish, VPN Unlimited, VyprVPN, HideMyAss!, TorGuard, Hola VPN, OpenVPN, and Kaspersky Secure Connection. The deadline has now passed and the only VPN company that has agreed to comply with
the new requirements is the Russia-based Kaspersky Secure Connection.
Most other providers on the list have removed their VPN servers from Russia altogether, so asn ot to be at risk of being asked to hand over information to Russia about their customers.