According to a new report, Russia suffered a loss of over $4 billion last year due to internet disruptions. These losses were partially caused by Russia's aggressive bans on Western social media sites. The country began limiting access to platforms like Facebook and Twitter in the weeks following its invasion of Ukraine in 2022. In total, Russia experienced 1,353 hours of internet shutdown in 2023, impacting 113 million internet users. The economic cost of these disruptions was measured using the Cost of Shutdown Tool from the internet monitor NETBLOCKS.
Russia recorded the highest losses among all countries in the report, followed by Ethiopia with $1.59 billion and Iran with $920 million in losses from internet shutdowns. Additionally, Russia accounted for nearly half of the global economic loss resulting from internet disruptions, which amounted to $9.01 billion in 2023.
These internet shutdowns add to the long list of economic challenges faced by Russia since the war, particularly as the country distances itself from the West. Despite President Putin's claims of the resilience of Russia's economy, experts argue that a closer examination of the Kremlin's finances reveals a less optimistic outlook. Russia's budget deficit reached 3.24 trillion rubles ($36 billion) last year, and a significant portion of the budget is planned to be spent on the military, potentially further impacting economic growth.