First it was China, experimenting with its own special DNS name space and its own Great cyber-Wall to guard what content can and cannot enter the country. Now, Putin's Russia is said to be planning to give it a try. From IGP's extensive network of spies in Moscow (well, ok, it's actually from a two-month old Russian newspaper), we learn that the Security Council of the Russian Federation has declared that Russia will create its own Web, in Cyrillic, “completely independent from the traditional WWW.”
Several reasons were cited for the creation of an independent network. One was — surprise — “information safety and security.” The newspaper writes: “Today it is a matter of fact that Russian users are accessing the internet via channels which are in the control of the US government. Experts say there is the potential for the US to block these channels in the hypothetical scenario of an adverse development in the bilateral relationship between the Russia and the USA.” The other reason cited was to promote the use of the Cyrillic alphabet and the Russian language. The article goes on to grumble about US control of the DNS root, the outcome of WSIS, and the nationalistic comments of Senator Norm Coleman claiming that the US has a divine right to rule the Internet.
This “independent web” is of course not real yet, and the whole article could just be a trial balloon floated by nationalists who don't understand very well what they are trying to do. But it does serve as a timely reminder that unilateral nationalism on one side begets its mirror image elsewhere. I wonder if Senator Coleman recognizes his image. As IGP has argued in its submissions to the US Government, the only way out of this bad cycle is to “complete the transition” to a fully de-nationalized Internet governance regime.