Russia vs. Telegram: technical notes on the battle


You may prefer to read the speaker notes for the slides instead of watching the talk video, as the talk itself is not that artistic as I'd like it to be due to various constraints. Q&A section starts at 33:40.


  1. The third Q&A question at 35:41 was "You're worried by the lack of competency. Should you work for the Russian Government?". But I've heard the question incorrectly, I've heard it as "You're worried by the lack of competency. Should you worry abt the Russian Government?". While my answer still makes sense as an answer to the former question, it was the answer to the latter one. The answer to the original question would be a bit different one:
    First, I'm not eligible for working for the Russian Government due to formal reasons, as far as I know.
    Second, I have already previously kinda contributed to governmental work participating in round-table discussions of Law #276-FZ (aka Anti-VPN law) in the Russian Parliament.
  2. The fourth Q&A question at 36:20 was "We, as a German people, can we rent your expertise when we get some problems like a serious broking of EU(?) in Central Europe?". While my answer makes sense, it was intentionally very vague as word "rent" implies some sort of contract while I may be unable to informally enter such a binding contract due to possible legal limitations. I absolutely support expertise sharing, but I'm unsure if a contract is the best way to formalize knowledge sharing.



It's time to highlight facts and epic fails that were observed on the wire during attempts to block Telegram in Russia.

Russian Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, IT and Mass Media started the process to ban Telegram on April the 16th. Roskomnadzor press-office claimed that the process will take a few hours. Telegram mostly worked in Russia during the incident beginning and still works half a year later.

Russia banned Amazon, Google, Microsoft, DigitalOcean, Hetzner and other networks covering almost 0.5% of Internet Protocol address space, presumably, to put pressure on international businesses to make Telegram persona non-grata on those networks.

Russia also banned IP addresses of major local businesses (VKontakte, Yandex and others), presumably, by mistake. A flaw in the filter was exploited to bring one of the major ISPs down for a while. Moscow Internet exchange point announced that alike flaw of the filter could be used to disrupt peering. Proxy-hunting experiments were observed sniffing live network traffic, both for obfuscated MTProto proxy and good old Socks5.

This talk will not cover legal aspects of the lawyers fighting for Telegram in court. Also, it will not show any "insider" information from Telegram team.