Russians denied internet access as Putin visited Volgograd

President Vladimir Putin visiting Volgograd for the Battle of Stalingrad anniversary meant no internet access and fewer TV channels for the locals.

Signal jammers were put up signal jammers all over central Volgograd, denying locals mobile internet access. Roskomsvoboda, a Russian organization for protecting digital rights, linked connection disruption with the visit of the Kremlin’s master.

Volgograd, called Stalingrad during the Soviet Era, celebrated the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Stalingrad. Russia’s president Putin took part in events marking the end of the bloody battle that resulted in around 2 million casualties during the Second World War.

According to the Faridaily Telegram channel, the city’s center was cleared of all traffic, banning citizens from visiting public memorials during the president’s visit.

“This is a Putin-style national celebration of the 80th anniversary of the Battle of Stalingrad. No real citizens, no Internet, and with everyone’s hands at the seams,” Faridaily Telegram channel said.

Signs touting the city’s soviet-era name were put up throughout Volgograd. The town also had a monument to the soviet dictator Stalin erected.

According to Reuters, despite Stalin’s record of presiding over a famine that killed millions and political repression that killed hundreds of thousands, Russian politicians and school textbooks stress his role as a successful wartime leader.

Last February, Russia started a full-scale war against Ukraine, invading the country with hundreds of thousands of troops. Despite initial plans to take Ukraine’s capital Kyiv in three days, the Russian military finds itself in a year-long war with casualties in the hundreds of thousands.

Witness testimonies from Ukrainian towns Russian forces have occupied point to severe human rights violations and targeted lethal attacks against civilians.

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