Russia demands that the world 'demilitarize' the internet and accuses the West of 'cyber-totalitarianism'
The Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations, Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia, stormed into the West, accusing him of controlling information online.
A Russian ambassador accused the West of "cyber totalitarianism" and the "militarization" of the Internet.
He lamented a “russophobic information campaign” spreading on social media and the internet.
Russia has often promoted disinformation, which Vassily Nebenzia called "alternative views."
Russian diplomat Vasily Nebenzia launched a tirade against the West on Monday, accusing the world's largest democracies of controlling information about the war in Ukraine and blocking Russia's "alternative views".
"States that call themselves a 'community of democracies' are actually building cyber totalitarianism," Nebenzia, Russia's permanent representative to the United Nations, said at a UN Security Council briefing on global technology and security.
The diplomat condemned Ukraine for openly declaring that it had created a voluntary "IT" army to combat Russian disinformation online and attack Russian and Belarusian facilities.
"Colleagues, you are creating uncontrollable cybertroops that will master their skills in Ukraine by attacking Russia, but will not stop there," he said.
Nebenzia said the West is similarly "militarizing the digital realm" and that Moscow will roll back any cyberattacks on Russia. He added that Russia is calling for "demilitarizing the information space" and likened a possible global online conflict to a nuclear war.
"Once again, I urge you to consider the danger of dragging the world into a cyber confrontation no less dangerous than [the] use of weapons of mass destruction," Nebenzia said.
On the other hand, multiple reports have documented an extensive Russian cyberattack campaign targeting Ukraine through malware and hacks, some so destructive that they were allegedly worse than Moscow anticipated.
Nebenzia said the West chooses to ignore any "alternative point of view" and disregard "all inconvenient facts", citing Russia's false claims that a civilian massacre in the Kiev suburb of Bucha was a "hoax".
Governments and mainstream media have widely challenged these claims in the face of satellite photo evidence and video footage.
Nebenzia also criticized Facebook for blocking accounts promoting Russian disinformation, which he called content that "does not fit the agenda dictated by the West." He lamented a "russophobic information campaign" that attacked Russia in matters of politics, sports, education and culture.
"Corporation Meta has openly approved all hate speech and incitement to violence against Russians on its platforms," he said.
Recent actions by Russia seem to contradict the strong statements by Nebenzia. The Kremlin has banned most Western social media networks since it began invading Ukraine.
In March, the country passed a law that punishes dissent - which it defined as "spreading disinformation" - with up to 15 years in prison.
At the Security Council briefing on Monday, the United States and Great Britain accused Russia of wanting to manipulate public opinion with false propaganda.
US Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield said the Russian government "continues to shut down, restrict and degrade internet connectivity, censor content, spread disinformation online, and intimidate and arrest journalists for reporting the truth about their invasion."
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