On 13 April 2018, the Taganskyi District Court of Moscow upheld Roscomnadzor’s claim to block access to Telegram. On 16 April 2018, Roscomnadzor reached out to telecom operators requesting they commence blocking the messenger. All Russian telecom operators are obliged to block access to the relevant resources based on Article 46 of the Federal Law “On Communication” No. 126-FZ dated 7 July 2003.
Telegram’s lawyers intend to appeal the decision; however, the chances of winning the case are extremely low. Mr Durov (the owner of Telegram) posted on his page in the social network “VKontakte” that Telegram will use embedded methods to bypass the blocking; however, 100% availability of Telegram without the use of VPN is not guaranteed (i.e. the service may work slowly and with interruptions).
It would appear that a large number of Telegram’s users will now use VPN services to bypass the blocking. However, Roscomnadzor may initiate blocking of VPN services as well. This option has been available since 1 November 2017 when Federal Law No. 149-FZ dated 27 July 2006 “On Information, Information Technologies and Protection of Information” was amended with a new Article 15.8.
So far Telegram has been working with minor interruptions and rather slowly. It appears that Telegram is trying to keep the service available despite the blocking.