Skip to content
Breaking News Alert Grassley Launches Probe Into 'Monumental Security Failure' By Secret Service

Exclusive: Rumble Barred In Russia Over Platform’s Refusal Of Kremlin Censorship


The free speech streaming website Rumble was banned in Russia earlier this year over the video platform’s refusal to comply with Kremlin censorship.

Russian internet users were unable to access Rumble beginning in early March after the company dismissed the government’s complaints related to a channel called Allatra TV. In a message to the streaming website reviewed by The Federalist, Russia demanded the channel’s page be banned because its “activities are deemed undesirable on the territory of the Russian Federation.”

The company examined the channel for violations of Rumble’s platform guidelines and determined no independent censorship was warranted.

“The Russian government demanded that Rumble remove content that didn’t violate our terms of service,” Rumble CEO Chris Pavlovski told The Federalist. “The Russian request was a direct assault on the universal human right to free expression, so we refused, and they turned off access to Rumble inside Russia.”

Pavlovski noted that while Rumble is banned, Google-owned YouTube still operates in the country despite the presence of the same channel publishing on their service.

“YouTube still operates in Russia, and the world deserves to know whether they are collaborating with Russia’s censorship regime,” Pavlovski said.

The Federalist reached out to YouTube inquiring what rules from Moscow the streaming giant complied with in order to remain online in Russia. YouTube responded with a series of links to the company’s terms of service and emphasized the platform’s censorship of state-backed news channels amid the ongoing war in Ukraine. The company said more than 12,000 channels and more than 140,000 videos related to the conflict have been removed since February 2022.

Pavlovski submitted written testimony on foreign censorship to the House Subcommittee on Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations in May.

“One of the first instances of government censorship we experienced did not come as a surprise, as it came from communist China,” Pavlovski explained. “Communist governments often crack down on a variety of freedoms, including freedom of expression.”

Pavlovski went on to outline how Western governments have increasingly embraced communist-style censorship regimes with aggressive demands that private companies suppress dissident speech.

“People can certainly question the trustworthiness of news sources,” Pavlovski wrote, “but it should not be any government’s job to selectively eliminate access to information.”

In the United States, the Biden administration is facing multiple lawsuits over the federal government’s dystopian censorship programs that are facilitating a 21st-century crackdown on free expression.

In March, the Supreme Court heard oral arguments in the landmark speech lawsuit Murthy v. Missouri, wherein states are suing to dismantle the federal government’s censorship industrial complex. The high court will rule on the permissibility of the federal government’s scope of authority to implement a censorship regime by the end of June.

Access Commentsx