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Russian Web Host Suspends Daily Stormer After Government Inquiry


The Daily Stormer website was barred by Google and GoDaddy in the wake of far-right violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, that left one person dead.
The Daily Stormer website was barred by Google and GoDaddy in the wake of far-right violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, that left one person dead.

A Russian web-hosting provider says it has suspended the Russian domain of the prominent U.S. neo-Nazi website Daily Stormer after the government's media regulator asked it to look into the site's "extremist content."

Ru-Center, a private Moscow-based domain registrar, told RFE/RL on August 17 that the company received an official letter from Roskomnadzor requesting that the company look into possibly suspending the domain

The Daily Stormer lost control of the domain earlier this week after Google and GoDaddy refused service to the publication.

The two domain registrars were responding to a social-media campaign against the website spawned by its attacks on a woman who died protesting against racism at a white-supremacist rally in Virginia over the weekend.

The Silicon Valley firms' decisions made the controversial website inaccessible on August 15, but by the morning of August 16, the Daily Stormer -- which takes its name from Der Sturmer, a newspaper that published Nazi propaganda -- was back online with the Russian domain name

The Russian domain was registered with Ru-Center on August 15, according to public records. But the site quickly became unavailable.

Ru-Center spokesman Yegor Timofeyev told RFE/RL in an e-mail that Roskomnadzor's letter asked the company "to look into [the] possibility of register suspension due to extremist content of this domain."

"So we decided to suspend [the] domain," he said.

Roskomnadzor head Aleksandr Zharov confirmed in an August 17 statement that the agency had sent the letter to Ru-Center.

"Russian law has established a very strict regime for combatting any kind of extremism in the Internet," Zharov said.

He said that the agency appealed to Ru-Center "with a request to quickly examine the question" of canceling the Daily Stormer’s Russian domain because the publication "propagates neo-Nazi ideology and stirs up racial, national, and other forms of social discord."

The Daily Stormer's publisher declared earlier that he has been "completely banned from the Internet" after the site briefly secured the Russian domain name and then disappeared again on August 16.

Andrew Anglin told The Associated Press that after being booted off platforms in the United States and Russia he could no longer find a place to air his white-supremacist views.

"Clearly, the powers that be believe that they have the ability to simply kick me off the Internet," Anglin told AP in an e-mail.

Anglin for a while kept up his inflammatory statements through the Russian domain, mocking Heather Heyer, the woman who was killed when a suspected Nazi sympathizer rammed his car into a crowd of demonstrators in Charlottesville, Virginia.

Anglin's original story called Heyer, among many other things, "the definition of uselessness," provoking an outraged response on social media.

Anglin told AP that he had been kicked off four domains and had run out of options since most domain registries explicitly ban "hate speech."

"They have effectively banned me from registering a domain," he told AP.

Also late on August 16, Twitter and Facebook said they had suspended accounts and removed websites linked to the Daily Stormer, which helped organize the rally in Charlottesville that resulted in Heyer's death.

With reporting by AP, Reuters, and
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    Carl Schreck

    Carl Schreck is an award-winning investigative journalist who serves as RFE/RL's enterprise editor. He has covered Russia and the former Soviet Union for more than 20 years, including a decade in Moscow. He has led investigations into corruption, cronyism, and disinformation campaigns in Russia and Central Asia, as well as on poisoning attacks against Kremlin opponents and assassinations of Iranian exiles in the West. Schreck joined RFE/RL in 2014.