Fighters of Wagner Group private military company deploy outside the Russian Southern Military District staff headquarters on June 24, 2023 in Rostov-on-Don, Russia. Photo by Arkady Budnitsky/ UPI | License Photo
June 25 (UPI) -- Russian regulators have blocked access to the VKontakte social network page for the Concord Group, the company owned by Wagner Group boss Yevgeny Prigozhin.
Roskomnadzor, the Russian federal agency responsible for controlling and censoring mass media, has blocked access to Prigozhin's company page after the mercenary boss led a short-lived rebellion against Russian leadership over the weekend.
When accessed by UPI, a notice displayed reads: This material was blocked at the request of Roskomnadzor on the basis of the decision of the General Prosecutor's Office of the Russian Federation dated June 24, 2023 No. 27-31-2023/Treb431-23."
Prigozhin's press service has not posted any updates to its Telegram account since Saturday after the mercenary boss accepted a deal brokered by Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.
Russia's Ministry of Digital Development on Sunday recommended that journalists be given the day to cool off after covering the events of the weekend. The message was posted on the ministry's account on the VKontakte platform.
"Saturday was a very emotional and stressful day. Therefore, we recommend that even continuously operating IT companies, telecom operators and the media operating in regions that were at the epicenter of events yesterday, give those employees who are not involved in critical functions tomorrow a day off," the ministry said.
"Many employees of the Ministry of Digital Development spent the weekend at their workplace, so we also made this decision for our employees."
Last week, Roskomnadzor included 12 major website hosting providers in its list of companies subject to laws requiring them to open branches in Russia and register an account with the regulator for "operational interaction with authorities."
Those website hosting services include Amazon Web Services, GoDaddy, HostGator.com and Bluehost.
Russia on Sunday also blocked the account for OVD-Info, a Russian-based human rights project that tracks protest arrests and media blocks in the country, from accessing its account on the Odnoklassniki social network, the group said in a statement.
"OVD-Info does not know the reasons for the blocking, and we do not agree with it," the group said. "The project considers the incident an act of state censorship, which is designed to limit our work."
Roskomnadzor and the Russian government have significantly limited access to social media across Russia since the war in Ukraine began.
Last year, Russian regulators cut off access to Instagram for about 80 million users, arguing that the social media platform was allowing posts that provoke acts of violence against Russian troops in Ukraine.
Russia later completely banned Instagram and Facebook in the country.