640 Russian blogs and online communities have registered with the Russian media watchdog. Roskomnadzor has classified these sites as equal to the media, which makes their content subject to certain restrictions.
Under the law, which was passed last year, bloggers and internet users with public web pages visited by more than 3,000 people a day are supposed to register with the media watchdog. Website owners can voluntarily register for the list, or be ordered to join the list by Roskomnadzor.
The bloggers must disclose their identities and follow the regulations that apply to media outlets, which include compulsory fact checking, avoiding the use of expletives, not publishing extremist materials and not disclosing private information. Violation of the regulations is punishable by a 30,000 ruble ($476) fine. If a blog on the list is owned by a legal entity, the fine is raised to 300,000 rubles ($4,760).
According to a statement from Roskomnadzor in March this year, 60% of all violations involved the use of obscene language, 24% related to disinformation regarding drug use, while 6% concerned “insulting the feelings of religious believers”.
The list includes Dmitry Kiselyov’s public page on Russian social network VKontakte. Mr Kiselyov is director general of state-owned media giant Rossiya Segodnya and renowned for his anti-western views.
Earlier this year Kiselyov opened accounts on several social networks, but his Facebook and Instagram pages were quickly blocked after being flooded with inflammatory comments from his critics.
The law was has been criticised by many popular bloggers, citing fears that it would not be applied fairly.