Telegram, a popular Russian messaging service, was recently ordered to provide the state security service with access to its users’ encrypted messages. Telegram refused to comply, prompting Roskomnadzor, the country’s communications regulator, to block a significant number of IP addresses that belong to Google or Amazon. Twitch, the popular streaming service owned by Amazon, was caught in the crossfire.

A Russian streamer who goes by Angry Roleplayer took to Reddit to make a post on the matter. He had the following to say:

“Yesterday Russian authorities started blocking Telegram (popular encrypted messenger) and Amazon (and Google) server IPs country-wide. As a result over 20 MILLION IPs and IP gates were banned which resulted in massive nationwide blocking and collapse of many services that used Amazon and some Google-based servers. Unfortunately, Twitch is also BLOCKED NOW for most Russians including me! So I had to use VPN and TOR to write a message on actual Twitch website. I have literally no idea how I can stream with Twitch in this situation. And I am a full-time, Twitch-affiliated streamer and I just get 2000: Network Error now. Will have to stream on YouTube for the time being.”

Angry Roleplayer also uploaded a video to YouTube, in which he provides a first-hand look at the issue.

The exact number of IPs that have been blocked differs between sources. According to Reuters, however, “18 sub-networks and a significant number of IP addresses” have been affected. It’s also noted that this appears as an indirect way to block Telegram after a previous direct attempt at doing so failed.

Sergei Solonin, a Telegram investor, chimed in on the matter. Solonin had the following to say to Kommersant:

“Telegram has an inbuilt technology enabling a dynamic change of IP addresses using smartphone functions. Telegram can be changing IP addresses countless times. I do not quite understand how Roskomnadzor can fully block it. Strange they did not realize that before. The entire thing was known from the beginning.” 

Solonin stated that is is possible to block Telegram through Apple and Google, but also stated that such a prospect is “absurd.” He also insinuated that there could be “commercial” motivation behind this attempt at blocking Telegram. However, Alexander Zharov, chief of Roskomnadzor, has denied this.

It is also worth mentioning that some people in the Russia area currently seem to be unaffected by the block. Certain Russian streamers are still currently able to use Twitch, including Redditor Siberian_644, who stated in a comment on Angry Roleplayer’s original post that Twitch is “working fine in Omsk, Western Siberia.” That said, he also explained that his friends and “guys from the Russian Street Fighter community” weren’t so lucky.

YouTube also currently seems to be unaffected by the block. Hence, Angry Roleplayer’s video and statement that he would be streaming on that site for the time being.

At this time, it is unclear how long this block will remain in place, but the parties involved expressed their hope to reach a solution sometime soon. Moreover, Andy Chalk of PC Gamer said he has reached out to Twitch for more information and will provide updates when possible.

Once again, at the end of the day, it seems Twitch was an unintended casualty in all of this, but the fact remains that the livelihoods of some Russian streams may be in significant jeopardy if things aren’t resolved soon.

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About The Author

Noah Dominguez
Jr. Staff Writer

A lifelong gamer who got his start playing Spyro the Dragon, Trap Gunner, and Medievil II on the original PlayStation (and has been impatiently awaiting Medievil III ever since), as well as Sonic the Hedgehog on the Sega Genesis. Now has a penchant for games with compelling stories, but still spends way more time playing Tony Hawk games than any one person should and could listen to their soundtracks all day long if need be. Has worked as an online writer since late 2016, giving his take on video games, movies, television shows, comic books, and the like. Currently waiting to be cast in a 21 Jump Street revival TV series.