Russia is planning to temporarily cut off internet access throughout the entire country as it prepares for potential cyber warfare.
The announcement comes after a draft law called the Digital Economy National Program — which requires Russian internet service providers (ISPs) to make technical changes as the nation prepares for sanctions — was introduced to Russian parliament last year.
The outage will take place before April 1, although an official date has yet to be released, the BBC reports. (RELATED: Trump Threatens To Cancel Putin Meeting After Ukraine Incidents)
The internet shutdown is part of a continuing effort on the part of the Russian Federation and President Vladimir Putin to allow the country’s internet to operate independently.
According to ZDNet, ISPs across the country are concerned that the new law’s implementation could cause a “major disruption.”
The Russian government, however, has promised to foot the bill to help concerned ISPs pay the costs related to new infrastructure and servers that will be required under the new law. This initiative has been compared to China’s Great Firewall, which allows the Chinese government to control the flow of information across the internet.
ZDNet also reports that Russian officials “plan to route 95 percent of all internet traffic locally by 2020.”
Russia has been accused of using the internet to interfere in the electoral process of countries such as France and the United States. Russia has also set up “troll farms,” or fake accounts run by Russian government officials, who use Facebook and Twitter to spread disinformation about domestic politics in countries such as the United States.
Thirteen Russian nationals were indicted in the United States last year for meddling in the 2016 presidential election, although the indictment did not allege that they in any way altered the outcome of the election.