Schoolchildren trick Russian officials into erecting monument to banned internet messenger Telegram

Schoolchildren trick Russian officials into erecting monument to banned internet messenger Telegram
A group of children in a Russian village used a donation from a local legislator to erect a memorial to the banned Telegram messenger near the building that hosts the village administration.

The monument is made of plywood, painted blue and looks like a paper plane, which is one of the emblems of the Telegram messenger. An inscription on a board installed nearby reads “Digital Resistance,” the Nevskiye Novosti website reported on Friday.

The head of the village administration, Vitaly Ovlakhovsky, told reporters that he had agreed for the installation of the monument, but did not know about its “revolutionary meaning.” He added that the children showed him a contract with a member of the village council, Vladimir Petrov, who donated his personal money for the installation. The plan therefore appeared to be legitimate.

Vladimir Petrov, in turn, said that he was sure that his donation would be used to purchase a notebook computer necessary for the children’s studies, but also noted that he liked the idea with the monument. “They should not have lied to me. I could even have helped them, because I am not very fond of the story with this messenger,” he said. “Of course, we should observe the laws, but what is going on right now makes life difficult for millions of people who use various internet services,” he added.

In mid-April, the Russian telecommunications watchdog Roskomnadzor issued an order to internet providers restricting access to web resources used by Telegram messenger, which lost a court battle with the security services over keys to its clients’ encrypted correspondence. Russian law requires that owners of internet companies keep records of their clients’ traffic and hand over encryption keys to security officers on demand.

Telegram representatives insist that handing over of the encryption keys is technically impossible and refuse to comply with the law.

Since the start of the procedure, Roskomnadzor blocked millions of IP addresses that were used by the Telegram messenger, but it continues to migrate to new ones and remains accessible to this day.

However, the blocking of IP addresses has led to numerous problems with access to various Russian and foreign internet services all over the country. The situation became the subject of many jokes on the internet and at one point Telegram founder Pavel Durov asked his supporters to launch a nationwide protest in the form of launching paper planes and under the slogan “digital resistance.”

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