Russia Blocks Websites Calling for Boycott of Duma Elections

Russia’s communications watchdog blocked four websites that urged a boycott of parliamentary elections in September as the government cracks down on protests and boosts control over social media.

The regulator, Roskomnadzor, acted on a request from prosecutors, who said the sites also called for “coordinated actions by the public to organize protests in violation of current rules,” according to a statement posted on its website on Friday. Two of the websites have removed the offending material, it said.

“Activity to disrupt elections to the lower house of parliament undermines the constitutional order of Russia,” Roskomnadzor said in the statement.

The decision raises additional concerns about personal liberties a day after President Vladimir Putin signed a law that would force phone companies and web providers to store personal information for half a year.

Russia’s elections to the State Duma are scheduled to be held on Sept. 18.