Russian President Vladimir Putin attends the Navy Day parade in St. Petersburg, Russia, July 30, 2017. REUTERS/Alexander Zemlianichenko/Pool - RTS19PQA

Russian President Vladimir Putin has banned the use of proxy internet sites and anonymous instant messaging in a series of laws parliamentarians say are aimed at cracking down on the dissemination of extremist material.
The law prohibiting the use of technology that helps people access banned internet sites in Russia includes virtual private networks (VPNs) and will make it far more difficult for internet users in Russia to browse the internet anonymously.
But critics of the law, which was approved last week by the Duma, Russia’s lower house of parliament, believe the government is attempting to crack down on political dissent, with around 1,000 people taking to the streets ahead of the Duma passing the bill.
The demonstrators called for an end to censorship in Russia and demanded the resignation of the head of the state censor. They also called for the government to abandon its ongoing attempt to restrict internet use within Russia, as the new …