Publications

Sönmez, S. & Knoblauch, H. (2023). Grenzen im Internet? Die RIPE-Debatte um das Internet anlässlich des Ukrainekrieges — Working Paper No. 13

Author(s)

Sönmez, S. & Knoblauch, H.

Publication Title

Grenzen im Internet? Die RIPE-Debatte um das Internet anlässlich des Ukrainekrieges — Working Paper No. 13

Year of publication

2023

Place of publication

Berlin

Publisher

TU Berlin
  • Quotation (APA style):

    • Sönmez, S. & Knoblauch, H. (2023). Grenzen im Internet? Die RIPE-Debatte um das Internet anlässlich des Ukrainekrieges — Working Paper No. 13. Berlin: TU Berlin.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, 2022 sparked global horror and led to wide-ranging international sanctions against the Russian Federation. In addition to numerous economic and political sanctions, the following months saw a debate on whether and to what extent parts of Russia’s Internet infrastructure could be sanctioned. Once again, the question of territorial limitations on the Internet was explicitly raised and discussed. This discourse event is part of the debate on the fragmentation, territorialization, and instrumentalization of cyberspace that has been going on for several years. It runs through the short but eventful history of the Internet in a way that is particularly interesting for the investigation of the refiguration of spaces. After a brief reconstruction of the situation at the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, we will first outline the discussion about the fragmentation of the Internet. In this context, we will discuss the main features of the Internet infrastructure and its organization or “governance”. In the empirical part of this article, we focus on the discourse within RIPE, the organization responsible for registering IP address ranges for Russia, Ukraine, and Europe, which began with the start of the war. In this investigation, we reconstruct the course of the sanctions discourse within RIPE, which was conducted in the transnational public sphere through historically evolved, deliberative, and digital forms of communication. As a result of this discourse, the status quo of the Internet as an open network was clearly emphasized, while in other areas the material-spatial, political, and economic boundaries to the territory of Russia were sharply drawn. This highlights the role of the spatial figures of territory and network, whose tensions range from discourses and forms of discourse to governance organizations and technological-material infrastructure. Their often contradictory spatial dynamics lead neither to fragmentation nor to mere weaponization, but in their simultaneous spatial realization can be described as a refiguration of the Internet.