‘Inadvertently.’ How droll. How abso-[expletive deleted]-lute-ly droll.
Let me set the scene: Russia – which has comfortably settled back into the patterns of bureaucratic autocracy that has more or less been its operating methodology for a millennium – has a problem. It’s that pesky Internet, which was created by those pesky Americans, and our pesky stubborn insistence that people have rights and needs that trumps the State’s. Worse, an American’s instinctive response to foreigners insisting the we shut up on the Internet traditionally involves a bodily function, a rope and directions on how do the former upon the latter. You can do that, when all the servers are on your soil. Sooo…
For Russian President Vladimir Putin, this was intolerable. In his mind the solution was simple: force the platforms — Facebook, Google, Twitter, and Apple among them — to locate their servers on Russian soil so Russian authorities could control them.
The challenge was how to do it.