TECH

Because of the actions of Roskomnadzor, scientists have lost access to grants and scientific journals. They complained to Medvedev and Klimenko

Scientists called for an end to the massive blockages that threaten “catastrophic consequences for the future of Russia.”

The youth center of robotics of the University ITMO. Photo from the university archive
The youth center of robotics of the University ITMO. Photo from the university archive

Russian scientists complained to the authorities on the massive blocking by Roscomnadzor of IP addresses of hosting providers for the sake of restricting access to Telegram. Rector of one of the leading technical Russian universities ITMO Vladimir Vasiliev wrote an open letter to the presidential adviser on Internet development Herman Klimenko, the Council of the Society of Scientists prepared an appeal to the Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev. The essence of the statements boils down to the fact that it has become much more difficult for scientists to do their work because of Roskomnadzor’s actions.

ITMO

Vasiliev noted that the actions of Roskomnadzor “partially paralyzed and complicated” the work of scientists and teachers. Scientists have lost access to the full texts of articles in international scientific journals: the agency blocked Amazon’s IP addresses, on whose servers the Evise publishing system stores files.

As a result, our researchers are not able to quickly obtain information about the latest international research in their field, which is critically necessary for them to be in the lead of the world scientific process.

Vladimir Vasilyev
Rector of ITMO

ITMO – world record holder in the number of victories at the World Programming Championship – has not been able to regain access to his online course “How to win programming Olympiads: the secrets of champions” for more than a week. It is located on the open education platform edX, but both IP addresses of the testing queue are blocked. The rector of the university noted that this situation “shames the international reputation” of the university.

According to the rector, Roskomnadzor’s actions “made it much more difficult” for Russian scientists to work together with their foreign colleagues. They exchanged documents through Google services (for example, Google Drive and Google Docs), which became unavailable for team members from Russia.

Other Russian universities

Attempts by Roskomnadzor to block Telegram entail “serious problems” not only for ITMO, but also for other Russian universities, Vasiliev noted.

If Roskomnadzor continues its current policy, this will inevitably lead to the fact that ITMO University and many other leading Russian research and educational centers will soon lose their high positions in international scientific research and open education and will be on the sidelines of world scientific and technological progress.

Vladimir Vasilyev
Rector of ITMO

In the opinion of the Rector of ITMO, the actions of Roskomnadzor are capable of inflicting “substantial damage” on science, education and economy, and also contradict Vladimir Putin’s decrees on the development of science. Vasilyev is sure that if the massive blockages do not stop, Russian scientific and educational centers “will be on the sidelines” of world progress.

On behalf of my colleagues, representatives of the scientific and educational community, I ask you [Klimenko] to intervene in the activities of this agency and in the near future to ensure the restoration of access to the services they need from Russian scientific and educational institutions that they suffered as a result of Roskomnadzor’s actions in order to prevent the catastrophic consequences of the established situation for the future of Russia.

Vladimir Vasilyev
Rector of ITMO

Society of Scientists

The Council of the Society of Scientists includes 299 people – it’s professors, associate professors, heads of laboratories and representatives of scientific institutions. In an appeal to Medvedev, they criticized the “unprofessional actions” of Roskomnadzor, which led to interruptions in the work of scientific and educational sites, search engines and mail.

Scientists noted that “carpet blockages” led to a violation of access to training sites. This “partially paralyzed” the educational process in SkolTech, Moscow State University, Higher School of Economics and other universities, the authors specified.

The letter of the company reports on problems with the following resources:

  • Social network for cooperation of scientists from different disciplines ResearchGate;
  • Information system of KIAS – due to interruptions in its work, the submission of applications for grants competitions of the Fund for Fundamental Research fell through;
  • Archives of scientific journals published by Wiley;
  • Central repository of Java libraries;
  • The site of a large scientific journal Science;
  • Google
  • “A number of other network services”, which scientists use in research work;
  • The website of Dissernet, which expose borrowings in scientific works.

The scientific community demanded to “stop” the activities of Roskomnadzor and bring to justice the heads of the department, “through the fault of which” there were interruptions in the work of these sites.

The Council of the People’s Democratic Republic considers it absolutely unacceptable to practice carpet blockages at all costs, without taking into account the quite predictable negative consequences. The scientific and educational services, access to which was violated by Roskomnadzor, complied with the legislation of the Russian Federation and were not prohibited by the court. The harm caused by the activities of this department to Russian science and education, and hence to the whole society, can not be justified by the necessity of executing a judgment against one private company.

Council of the Society of Scientists

On April 16, Roskomnadzor began executing the Tagansky District Court’s decision to restrict access to Telegram, which did not give the FSB the keys to encryption. The messenger used to bypass the locks of Amazon Web Services, Google Cloud, DigitalOcean and the power of other cloud providers. In response, the agency contributed up to 18 million IP-addresses to the register of prohibited sites. Because the servers of the providers use not only Telegram, there are a lot of disruptions in the resources that are not related to the messenger.

Klimenko even before the beginning of the blocking Telegram advised the users of the service to go to ICQ. After massive disruptions in the work of various companies, the presidential adviser recommended that Roskomnadzor apologize, but did not bring any apologies. Medvedev has not commented on the situation with the messenger yet.

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