Russia & Central Asia


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Russia Purports to Build a Fully Controlled, State-Run IT Ecosystem

IT-engineers working under the close control of the Russian state are building an app which is very similar to China’s superapp WeChat. Along with an array of other digital services potentially to be used by every citizen, this tool will help the authorities monitor and influence the lives of Russians. At the center of this effort is VK Company, a conglomerate of digital services. Starting from an email service,, this entity grew to become the parent company to VKontakte, Russia’s largest social network. The network, resembling Facebook in its functionality, was originally developed independently, but gradually came under the control of Kremlin-connected business interests.

Philipp Dietrich
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