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Putin labels internet a ‘CIA project’ amidst moves to nationalise key infrastructure

Russian president Vladimir Putin has continued to project new-found bellicosity toward the West after branding the internet a ‘CIA Construct’.

The authoritarian leader held a media conference in St Petersburg in which he claimed that the American spy agency had originally created the World Wide Web and was continuing to play a key role in its development.

These comments feed into a broader desire to create a Russian alternative, echoing similar sentiment in countries such as Brazil and Germany which have also expressed unease at the covert activities of the National Security Agency in infiltrating the likes of Facebook and Skype.

In a recent question and answer session on Russian television Putin dodged a question put to him by renegade whistleblower Edward Snowden when he asked whether Russia intercepted internet communications, to which the president responded: “I hope we don't do that. We don't have as much money as they do in the US.”

In recent months the Russian parliament has sought to tighten its grip on social media by requiring foreign firms to base their servers in Russia and retain all information for a minimum of six months.