Russian president Vladimir Putin provided further indications that his administration will be tightening control over internet access in the country on Thursday, when he condemned the internet as being a CIA-controlled "project".
The Associated Press quoted Putin in saying at an event in St. Petersburg that the internet was a "CIA Project" and that it "is still developing as such."
The comments come just days after executives at Russia's largest social network reported that Putin-affiliated oligarchs have seized control of their company.
Vkontakte founder Pavel Durov said that he had been ousted from the company he founded, and driven from Russia by board members who have now taken over control of the social network.
Around the same time, Google Maps in Russia decided to begin logging Crimea as part of Russia.
According to the AP report, Putin also leveled criticism at Yandex, Russia's largest search engine, for establishing its headquarters in the Netherlands rather than inside of Russia.
The moves suggest that Putin could be tightening his grip on Russia's IT sector and public internet access in an effort to further consolidate power. A critic of the US intelligence sector's surveillance and spy programs, Putin has emerged as an ally of US whistleblower and émigré Edward Snowden.
He has also expressed a distrust as of late for American technology. Even before slamming the CIA's supposed control of the internet, Putin's administration dumped Apple's hardware over security concerns, and opted instead for Korean firm Samsung's produts. ®