Under Russian pressure to remove content, Instagram complies but YouTube holds off

Posted February 16, 2018

Anti-Kremlin campaigner Alexey Navalny said the order also threatens to block his website after he published an online film alleging that the videos and photographs posted by Anastasiya Vashukevich, who goes by the name Nastya Rybka, showed evidence of a corrupt relationship between the aluminum tycoon and the senior minister.

Mr. Navalny used Ms. Vashukevich's material to compile a video investigation, posted last week, claiming that the trip was a bribe from Mr. Deripaska to Mr. Prikhodko, that Ms. Vashukevich was a high-class escort and that she was one of "several" prostitutes aboard the yacht. "It still opens via some providers, but that is temporary", Navalny tweeted on Thursday.

Deripaska won an order from the Ust-Labinsk district court in his native Krasnodar region ordering the removal of 14 Instagram posts and seven YouTube videos that breached his right to privacy, according to a spokeswoman for his Basic Element company.

YouTube and Instagram may be blocked in Russian Federation as early as Wednesday unless they comply with the order and remove the material, Vedomosti newspaper reported.

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Navalny's allegations "should have been answered in a manly way, but we'll stay within the law", Prikhodko said, the RBC newspaper reported on Feb 9.

Deripaska is reportedly a confidant of President Vladimir Putin, and also has ties to President Donald Trump's former campaign manager, Paul Manafort.

Navalny has called for a boycott of Russia's Mar 18 presidential election after he was barred from running over a criminal conviction he says was politically motivated.

Russia's communications providers have blocked access to the website of opposition leader Alexei Navalny on orders of the state communications watchdog.

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Instagram photos were also among those that the watchdog wanted to block, though Rybka, whose pseudonym means "fish", appears to have deleted the original images of Deripaska from her account.

Deripaska sued in a local court, which turned around and ordered that the material be removed web-wide, recruiting the Russian communications regulator Roskomnadzor to enforce the order. He tweeted that both sites were up and running in Russian Federation, but could be shut down Wednesday night.

This is not Navalny's first attempt to link Russia's business leaders to the political elite. "If you do not remove the content, Google may be required to block it", said the email.

According to an AFP report, the Navalny investigation had received more than 4 million views on YouTube as of February 13. "This content was spotlighted by our corruption investigation".

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Both Deripaska and Prikhodko, who rarely makes comments to the media, denied the allegations.