Russian Federation blocks opposition leader's website just before election

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The Russian government has threatened to block access to Instagram and YouTube in the country, after videos surfaced on both platforms showing a senior government official spending time on a yacht with an oligarch in apparently corrupt secret meetings. "The site still opens through some providers, but that is temporary", Navalny, who has accused Roskomnadzor of "censorship", said in a subsequent tweet.

The Krasnodar region court ordered Navalny's team to remove seven YouTube videos and 14 Instagram posts by today, saying they breached Deripaska's right to privacy, The Moscow Times reports.

YouTube and Instagram may be blocked in Russian Federation as early as Wednesday unless they comply with the order and remove the material, Vedomosti newspaper reported.

As of Thursday, the video still remained online, although Russia's communications regulator Roskomnadzor said it had issued a request to Google to delete the video.

Deripaska also has past ties to President Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort, now indicted by the special counsel investigating alleged Russian interference in the 2016 US election campaign.

Russia's most well-known opposition figure, Navalny has been forbidden from standing against Putin in an upcoming March election.

Alexey Navalny, the key opposition figure in Russian Federation, said today that his site has been blocked in Russian Federation.

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Instagram photos were also among those that the watchdog wanted to block, though Rybka, whose pseudonym means "fish", appears to have deleted the original images of Deripaska from her account. Navalny refused and appealed the ruling. The court's decision on the interim measures was taken on the evening of February 9, so Instagram had three working days under the law, that is, until the evening of February 14, to remove the posts.

Navalny makes these claims about the August 2016 boat trip by triangulating Rybka's social media posts and book with geolocation and publicly available maritime and aviation records.

We've had ongoing discussions on this site about the ham-fisted website censorship policy that Russian Federation has undertaken over the past few years.

Navalny's team, which has published previous investigations about the vast real estate holdings of Russian government employees with relatively low salaries, said that YouTube had asked them to take down a video about the yacht affair.

An unnamed representative for Deripaska told the Interfax news agency on February 10 that the businessman was filing a lawsuit against Rybka and a Belarus-born man who goes by the name Alex Lesley for posting details of his private life on social media.

With most news media outlets controlled by the government, Mr. Navalny's website is virtually his only vehicle for distributing his investigations of corruption among members of Mr. Putin's inner circle.