Annemarie Polheim, Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen

THE MAKING OF A SOVEREIGN RUNET - Examining Interdependencies and the Quest for Sovereignty in Russia’s Internet Infrastructure Governance

Lesedauer: 2 Minuten

In recent decades, the Internet has increasingly become subject to regulation and politicization in both liberal and authoritarian contexts. In contrast to the ideal of an open and borderless Internet that prevailed during its history, the concept of a “Sovereign” Internet is now gaining significance. This trend encompasses not only the Internet’s content and platforms but also extends to its infrastructure layers, including hardware infrastructure, routing, and communication protocols.

My research project examines changes, regulations, and visions for the future of the Russian Internet infrastructure as an object of both political and technical, national, and transnational administration. What does Internet Sovereignty mean at the technical and political levels? What changes in Russian Internet infrastructure and administration can be observed in recent years, and how are these changes rooted in the history of the Russian Internet and linked to global and national trends?

These questions will be addressed through the analysis of official documents and network data concerning the Russian Internet, which are available in repositories outside Russia or accessible online. The analysis will primarily focus on the past decade, specifically since 2012. The research project serves as an interdisciplinary bridge between digital studies and social science research within the field of area studies and contemporary history.