Russia’s communications watchdog, Roskomnadzor, has officially moved to lift the ban on Telegram messaging app, two years after implementing steps restricting access to its service in the country. The decision has been taken in a bid to use Telegram as a channel for disseminating critical information that helps combat the COVID-19 crisis.
As per a statement from Roskomnadzor, the decision has been made in consultation with Russian Prosecutor General’s Office after reaching an agreement with Telegram founder Pavel Durov to help combat the threat of extremism, terrorism, and public safety issues. To recall, the ban was imposed because Telegram refused to hand over encryption keys to authorities.
But despite trying to choke access to Telegram, workarounds were found and people continued using it as an important channel of communication. As per a Bloomberg report, even Russia’s national task force to fight coronavirus and the Russian Foreign Ministry continued to operate their own Telegram channels.