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The Telegram app stopped working in the southern parts of Russia on October 30. The potential causes haven’t been resolved yet.
In fact, more and more users are reporting that the app isn’t working.
Telegram unresponsive in regions close to Dagestan
Residents of the southern regions of Russia are saying that Telegram has been unresponsive for two days now. Over 16,000 complaints have been registered yesterday alone.
Users have trouble accessing chats, sending and receiving messages, and loading photos and videos.
Most of the complaints come from the Krasnodar region (37%), Rostov region (15%), and Stavropol region (10%). However, the problem exists in other areas as well, including Moscow and St. Petersburg.
According to some reports, the malfunction may be connected with the recent events in Makhachkala. Over 60 people have been arrested after storming the city airport and protesting following an arrival from Tel Aviv on October 30.
There are also rumors that the authorities jammed communications during the riots to make it difficult for protestors to coordinate.
Cybersecurity expert, Alexey Kurochkin, said that he believes Telegram doesn’t have anything to do with the failure. This is evidenced by the fact that the app still operates normally in other territories.
Experts have assured users that their data will remain safe even while the app is down. They believe this to be the case as Telegram uses double encryption and other strong security systems.
Telecommunications companies Tele2, VimpelCom, and MegaFon have all confirmed that the unavailability of the app isn’t related to the operations of their networks.
The State Duma said that the failure of Telegram in the southern territories isn’t connected to a Roskomnadzor blocking unless a court decision was made, which hasn’t been confirmed.
Deputy head of the State Duma Committee on Information Policy, Oleg Matveychev, stated that Roskomnadzor operates only according to the law. He said that if the authorities haven’t given any orders to the court, this may indeed be a Telegram failure.
However, with the responses from officials being rather vague, many Russians still believe that the government has blocked/disrupted Telegram in regions close to Dagestan.
After the Makhachkala airport incident, Telegram founder and CEO, Pavel Durov, said that the app will ban channels calling for violence, such as those making threats against Jewish communities in Dagestan.
Is it possible to get Telegram working in these areas?
Users on various forums have commented that they’ve tried updating the app and their phone systems to resolve the issue but had no luck. Some were even scared that they’d received a ban from the app.
If this is indeed a geo-restriction, using a VPN to bypass it is the most straightforward solution.
While some users have mentioned this worked for them, others have said they still find Telegram unresponsive even after changing their location with a VPN.
Some comments hint at using the app’s web version in combination with a VPN as the most likely way to access the platform at the moment.
It’s also important to keep in mind that only some VPNs would be able to get around this problem.
Oleg Matveychev stated that Roskomnadzor now has a list of VPNs that are ready to comply with the country’s laws. He said these providers are willing to restrict access to the content the authorities want to block.
However, the list of these VPNs hasn’t been made public.
Following the Makhachkala airport incident, the State Duma deputy from Dagestan, Sultan Khamzaev, asked to prohibit VPNs that allow access to resources the government blocks.
Telegram in Russia
Telegram has continuously grown in Russia, especially after other social networks left the country following the war with Ukraine. As of 2023, it has over 48.8 million daily users, which translates to about 40% of the country’s population.
Companies also started implementing it in their operations and families use it to stay in touch. Some Russians even work in commercial Telegram chats.
Therefore, it’s no surprise that so many questions have arisen about why the app isn’t working.
The last time something like this happened was on August 21, when the app was unavailable for about an hour.