MOSCOW—The Kremlin launched a massive offensive on the Internet three years ago after protests swept Moscow following President Vladimir Putin’s return to power. Since then, the RusNet (Russian segment of the Internet) has been coping with blacklists of banned websites and a nationwide Internet filtering system. In 2014, the annexation of Crimea only reinforced the Kremlin’s paranoia and increased the fears of a free flow of information that could pose “a threat to stability,” or more specifically, to the dominance and control of Putin himself.

With independent news media blocked, Putin then came after local social platforms and Russian bloggers. Now it is time for global platforms like Google, Twitter, and Facebook. The Kremlin wants them to relocate their servers to Russia, if they want to continue to serve the domestic market. But whether or not they comply with the Kremlin,...

You do not currently have access to this content.