Millions of Ukrainians continue to use "Vkontakte" and "Yandex" blocked in the country

In the middle of May on Geektimes the news was published about a special decree of the President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko regarding the blocking of many Russian services and sites. Others included Vkontakte, Odnoklassniki, the mail service and others. Many readers didn’t even believe this news initially, although it was later confirmed - services are indeed blocked.

As reported then, the restrictions are considered an extension of the sanctions and are generally of an economic nature. Blocking sites turned out to be a side effect of economic sanctions. A few days later it turned out that everything is very serious and the services are really blocked. But what are the real consequences of sanctions of this kind - did the government of the country manage to block access to these resources to citizens?

According to a number of analytical companies, including Factrum Group Ukraine, the results are not very good. So, in July, two months after the launch of the blocking, 35% of Internet users in the country used the Vkontakte social network at least once a month. For “Yandex”, this figure is 33%, and for - 30%. To understand how much it is in quantitative value, it is necessary to indicate the number of active Internet users. They turned out to be more than 20 million, that is, 64.8% of the country's inhabitants.

Information provided by Factrum Group is confirmed by another analytic company - SimilarWeb . As it turned out, Ukraine remains the second largest source of traffic for most services as part of Group. According to Vedomosti, SimilarWeb captures visitors from Ukraine by calling from local IP addresses. That is, in this case, users who used tools to bypass the lock are not taken into account. In other words, without working with anonymizers and VPNs, many Ukrainians (in fact, millions) manage to enter seemingly blocked sites.

And after all, this should not be, because since May, Ukrainian providers have been obliged to block access to the largest Russian services. The term of blocking, according to the presidential decree, is three years.

Indeed, the Ukrainian providers blocked the addresses that were listed in the annex to the main document. For example, Kyivstar (Ukrainian mobile operator) has blocked access to the home page. At the same time, she left unclosed access to Yandex.News and Yandex.Pogode, in Yandex.Mail. In addition, in many public places (for example, in cafes), access points allowed logged-in users to visit blocked resources without problems.

In June, the chairman of the Internet Association of Ukraine, Alexander Fediyenko, said that Ukrainians work seamlessly with the same “Yandex” because the search engine constantly changes its IP address.

Of course, it cannot be assumed that the blocking did not affect the attendance of Russian resources by Ukrainian users at all. The analytical companies mentioned above, Factrum Group and SimilarWeb, show about half of the attendance of the mentioned sites and services by Ukrainians. But this concerns purely Russian products. At the same time, the audience of Yandex, the Ukrainian version of a search engine, increased by several percent. More precisely - by 3.6% since June.

Vedomosti conducted a survey of some representatives of sites blocked in Ukraine. It turned out that the decline in traffic from Ukraine was not as strong as expected. One of the reasons is the technical capabilities of companies owning blocked resources. They can change the IP addresses of sites and services, use special techniques to avoid blocking. Some Ukrainian providers have to buy expensive equipment to fulfill the requirements of the government. It is clear that the additional costs do not motivate the company to work quickly.

As far as can be judged, despite the already mentioned above drop in attendance of Russian resources, Ukrainians continue to massively visit websites blocked in the country, either directly or using various blocking bypass schemes.

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