I’m pretty much done talking about the social network ban in Ukraine. Apparently I did not sufficiently hammer home the point I was trying to make in my last post. My anger in response to this isn’t about what the government did, but rather at the vastly more effective things they don’t do instead. Imagine you’re proud of how you finally trimmed the hedge on your front lawn, but meanwhile half your house is on fire. This would suggest you have a problem with priorities.
I’ve read more refined arguments for the ban since the last post, and while some of them are quite compelling (and some sites and services I agree should be banned, like Kaspersky Labs), but I feel they still fall short because at the end of the day, the ban doesn’t even fucking work. No seriously, it doesn’t. Here’s an excerpt from the link:
“Ukrainian experts also say that blocking the Russian sites is currently technically impossible. The chairman of the Internet Association of Ukraine, Alexander Fediyenko told “Interfax Ukraine”: “As of today, it can not be done.” He also added that the implementaion of the block would take time and large sums of money to upgrade equipment and make network topology changes.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian wireless operator ‘Kyivstar’ and telecom firm ‘Ukrtelekom’ have started preparations to implement the bill. ‘Ukrtelekom’ Director of Corporate Communications Mykhailo Shuranov told Hromadske that it could take from couple of days to a week.
Russian social Media VK has already shared instructions on how to bypass the block to its 20 million users.”
And in case anyone is wondering, I’ve been able to access all of the major blocked sites since this thing went into effect. Obviously a lot of babushki might not be able to figure out how to get around the ban, but the dangerous potential agents of the Kremlin certainly will.
There’s also another disturbing aspect of the ban, which comes right from the mouth of Poroshenko himself:
“I can tell that right after Russia stops its aggression against Ukraine, after the last soldier leaves the sovereign and independent territory of Ukraine, we will be ready to reverse this decision,” he (Poroshenko) said during the press-conference in Strasbourg.”
Think about that for a second. Apart from the fact that Putin, and indeed any likely successor is almost certainly not going to give back the Crimea of his own accord, does this seem just to you? Let’s just huff some paint for a second and imagine Putin did give back the Crimea and pulled all his overt forces out of Ukrainian territory- what then? Everything goes back to normal as Poroshenko promises? Ukrainian and Russian businessmen start making deals on the back of their respective populations again? Russia just gets to invade and occupy the country, kill over 10,000 people, and then just go back to the old status quo without so much as a slap on the wrist? And what would Ukraine get out of this fantasy Russia to guarantee its future safety, a peace treaty recognizing Ukraine’s borders? Yeah those have been so effective in the past! I’m all for reconciliation between Ukrainians and Russians as people, but I think it ought to be painfully clear that there can be no reconciliation between Ukraine and the current Russian regime even if it did reverse all of its actions since 2014.
That out of the way, let me remind readers that I am no naive liberal (or even a liberal at all) who believes in the childish idea of absolute free speech, nor do I believe that all human rights can be granted absolutely at all times (some internationally recognized human rights are actually contradictory, in fact). I’m not so much concerned about some middle-aged person in Kharkiv who will be inconvenienced in accessing their Odnoklassniki account (note that they can still access it) as I am about the idea of alienating millions of Ukrainian citizens while handing the Russians a point in the battle for the narrative in this conflict. This is doubly egregious when this action won’t even do what it’s supposed to do. This is incompetence, plain and simple.