In my view the internet is a shared commons not controlled by any one government, though many will try. I understand the history, of ARPA then DARPA, then came the spread of stronger crypto, then Wikileaks… (OK, so I’m leaving a lot out).

However the democrat in me (lowercase “d”, not a party) says of course Russians have every right to pump out “propaganda” as we call it, as does the Catholic church, the Gulen movement, the GOP and every other group, within reason. The internet is good for that.

We can talk about edge cases (regarding what groups might be banned), but a category as broad as “the Russians” or even “Putin supporters” and certainly the whole “.ru domain” is not one I’d single out for special treatment or censorship practices.

So what that Russians are playing in the playground? Is that a crime? Not unless we make it one. Should we make it one? Why? I happen to think RT is a pretty useful media outlet. Al Jazeera too. We need more voices and perspectives, not fewer.

Nor do I think of “the Russians” as some single “hive mind” anymore than I think of USers or Aussies in that way. The mere fact that a few Russian oligarchs spend resources having a footprint in global media is not a huge concern.

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