During a series of tests performed over the past two months, a government-backed Russian task force managed to fully disconnect Russia’s national internet system from the broader global system.

About the tests

From June 15 to July 15, all major Russian telecom companies were involved in a series of tests that sought to remove their systems from the global internet, with the aim of allowing them to fully function within Russia’s own internet systems. The task force also tested the physical disconnection of Russia’s internet, but it is unclear how long the testing took place, and whether or not it interrupted Russia’s internet traffic.

According to a source within the task force:

 “The purpose of the tests is to determine the ability of the ‘Runet’ to work in case of external distortions, blocks and other threats.”

“Runet”: Russia’s own internet

In 2019, a piece of legislation recognized as the “sovereign internet” law was adopted by the Russian legislature. The goal of the legislation is to better protect Russia from any cyberattacks aimed at out-of-state servers used by Russian organizations, which could potentially affect their operations. By finding a way to make an “internal” Russian internet, or “Runet,” capable of functioning solely on in-state servers, President Putin seeks to increase its “integrity, stability, and security,” and make it entirely self-sufficient.

It is unclear if or when Russia will decide to switch all internet functions from the global internet to the Runet in the future, but as large-scale cyberattacks increasingly impact the operations and supply chains of global organizations and governments alike, other national governments may want to consider developing similar internal networks.