When a country bans parts of the internet, it’s bad for free speech. This is something China, Iran, Russia and Saudi Arabia do, not democracies.
So alarm bells went off when President Petro Poroshenko on May 16 restricted Ukrainians’ access to Russian search engine Yandex, mail agent Mail.ru and Russian social media websites VKontakte and Odnoklassniki for three years. All four are among the 10 most-visited websites in Ukraine.
The worry is not that Poroshenko’s ban will succeed. It’s impossible to enforce: Within hours VKontakte sent messages to its Ukrainian users telling them how to bypass the ban. Anyone who doesn’t know can simply google it.