back to article Cloudflare, Akamai: Why we're not pulling out of Russia

Though Cloudflare and Akamai have voiced their opposition to President Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine, they have stopped short of pulling completely out of Russia despite mounting pressure to do so. In a March 6 statement, Cloudflare CEO Matthew Prince said his company, which provides DDoS protection and other internet …

  1. msobkow Silver badge

    You know, when someone makes a "If you're not with us, you must be against us" claim, I'm awfully tempted to tell them where to go no matter WHAT stance I take personally. It is as annoying as the troll who demands that you prove a negative.

    That said, I do agree with Akamai's stance. Cutting services is a good idea; cutting access is not. The Russian people are blind to what is going on except for what they can glean through the internet or broadcasts from outside the country. Most of them don't even realize Putinski STARTED this mess. :(

    1. chololennon

      "Most of them don't even realize Putinski STARTED this mess"

      I don't want to start a flame war, but this mess was started by uncle Sam several years ago.

      1. llaryllama

        I have a fascination with the Soviet Union and spend a lot of time reading about history of Ukraine, Russia and the USSR in general. Any idea that "this mess" can be conveniently blamed on the US is ridiculous.

        Ukraine has been bullied and pillaged by Russia for a long time. The Ukrainian people eventually said they have had enough and started looking westward to Europe. Let's face it, would you rather work with a neighbor who promises high quality of life, individual freedoms, rule of law and trade - or another neighbor run by a dictator wielding a big stick who basically wants to use you as a giant shield against some imaginary enemy?

        Russia complains constantly about NATO hardware being close to its borders, but what about Russian hardware being close to everyone else's borders? There are no instances of actual aggression started by NATO states against Russia but oh boy, there sure is a lot of the reverse.

      2. reGOTCHA
        Meh

        "I don't want to start a flame war" but let me proceed and start a flame war.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          The old adage still works: "anything before the 'but' is BS"..

        2. Danny 14

          to be fair the argument against would be "Hey maybe Putin has a point and I can see why he is bombing the shite out of civilians, cities, humanitarian convoys."

      3. Ian Johnston Silver badge

        I suggest that you investigate the word "holodomor" before making any claims about Ukraine-Russia relations.

        1. Graham Dawson Silver badge

          I'm sure someone will be along shortly, to explain that the holodomor wasn't real and it was actually all the kulaks hoarding food that caused the non-existent famine that didn't kill anyone.

          1. Yes Me Silver badge
            Big Brother

            правда

            I dunno. It's clear that Russia encourages and/or funds commentards on progressive political fora such as the Washington Post and to a lesser extent the Guardian, but it isn't obvious that they'd bother doing so here.

            1. Graham Dawson Silver badge

              Re: правда

              Tankies have thrown this claim around for years. No funding necessary.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      So they could cut "DDoS protection and other internet networking and security services" for certain Russian customers.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I think the number of available answers to the question "what's your side on this issue?" diminishes as the issue in the question gets closer to you. How close does it need to get to you, for you to take a stance? This is not an attack on you or anything, it is a genuine question.

      For me it's past the line that allows me the luxury to be neutral, friends fled from Ukraine and some family still lives in Moldova, and besides that, these are beautiful countries that I really want to visit again. I wish peace and prosperity for these countries and people, and the only way for this to happen is for the invader to go back to where they came from, and never return.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I'm afraid we'll never be able to go back to visit Ukraine again. I mean, even if this war were to suddenly, miraculously, stop, it would / will take _years_ to rebuild the country, remove the unexploded shells, etc. And we ain't seen nothing yet.

        As to Russia, visiting again, I've given up on that country (been a few times, and way out of cities and town), but I'm resigned, I don't think they will _ever_ change. Again and again, they do the same, stupid, senseless, cruel things, and yes, between them, they do stuff that makes you have a glimpse of home: hey', perhaps they've changed?! And then, BANG! - back to the old ways, and this cycle just goes on and on :(

        1. Danny 14

          I was lucky enough to visit Moscow in the iron curtain years, it was a business trip at the time (not a necessary one, more of a "fancy a jolly" one. My only real knowledge of Russia in the late 80's was from watching films like Firefox etc.

          TBH it felt fairly safe and just like many other large cities, I managed to get some nice photos and had an interesting midweek there.

          There is no way I would have gone back in the past decade.

      2. SImon Hobson Silver badge

        and the only way for this to happen is for the invader to go back to where they came from, and never return

        I agree. But riddle me this ...

        If the Russian population only know what TASS tells them, do they a) support their hero president who is liberating their friends from Nazi aggressors, or b) tear down the machinery that gets them tarred with the same brush are the minority causing all the harm ? If you choose b) then I think you need your faculties testing.

        However, if you keep providing a means for the population to see what's really going on - the mass shelling/bombing of civilians, the shelling of schools, the outright murder of people just trying to get away, ... Do you think the population are likely to have a different view ?

        So yes, I agree with these businesses - while there will be some harms, the benefits of them continuing to provide services that help anyone but the Russian government and military machinery will far outweigh those harms.

        Sadly, I suspect it will have to get a lot, lot worse before Putin's friends will turn on him - and even then it will be to replace him with someone who will still keep them in their power (and privilege), but without being extreme enough to cause all the aggro.

    4. arctic_haze
      Mushroom

      Putinski makes him sound too Polish

      Putin is just as Russian as it needs to be, like Stalin. Actually I like to call him Putler (he is the closest thing this century has seen), especially as the Putin trolls seem to hate this a lot

      1. Ian Johnston Silver badge

        Re: Putinski makes him sound too Polish

        Perfectly fair judgement. Putin is without doubt a fascist dictator who will probably go down in history as #2 to Adolf.

        1. rcxb1 Bronze badge

          Re: Putinski makes him sound too Polish

          Hitler is already #2, behind Stalin.

          1. bpfh Silver badge
            Mushroom

            Re: Putinski makes him sound too Polish

            I think they are actually #2 and #3, coming behind Uncle Mao...

  2. Claverhouse Silver badge
    Pirate

    The Mother of all Bombs

    I can recall how effective the world withdrawing services from America was after Bush II unprovokedly invaded Iraq.

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: The Mother of all Bombs

      Funny that, isn't it ? Curious how there's a clear double standard in many things international.

    2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: The Mother of all Bombs

      While there wasn't anything like the same degree of coordination there were indeed limited sanctions on America by some of its allies. France's position led to the introduction of "freedom fries" for some flag-wavers but also some companies also ditched US suppliers.

      The invasion of Iraq was indefensible and ultimately self-defeating as we're seeing now. It was pushed for by a group of Neo-Cons around Bush with the ultimate aim of destabilising Saudia Arabia. This made little or no sense then, the only real sense being that Saudia Arabia did indeed pose a threat through its funding of terrorist organisations. But it was just as likely to be the search for a new enemy after the end of the cold war. There were almost certainly war crimes committed by US troops for which they will not be held responsible.

      However, pointing out what was wrong then doesn't really help now. You might want to argue about the reasons for the two situations but the only one that really matters is that Ukraine borders several NATO countries and escalation is considered by many to be only a matter of time.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: The Mother of all Bombs

        It was intended to stabilize Saudi Arabia, they are the neoconservative ally in the middle east.

        An autocrat regime that relies on you buying their oil and then spends those dollars in the USA. And importantly stamps down on any democracy movements.

  3. Charles Smith

    Good luck to Akamai

    Good luck on getting paid in Russia, you'll need it. Perhaps it will be worth you investing in a wheelbarrow for the roubles.

  4. stiine Silver badge

    Why is everyone ignoring the telephone networks? Are they (cogent et al) suggesting we disconnect Russia from the telephone network, too?

    1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
      Trollface

      I think we should build a wall around Russia.

      Somebody get Trump on this issue.

      1. MiguelC Silver badge

        Tr*mp's latest bright idea was to spray-paint Chinese flags on (American) bombers and bomb Russia, so I wouldn't ask him, er, do anything at all, really

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Ah yes, another story from "sources close to". The same source as the gorilla channel.

        2. Danny 14

          that isnt the worrying part. The worrying part is that some of his voters will think that is a good idea.

      2. bpfh Silver badge

        Build a wall around Russia

        An iron curtain perhaps?

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    war is a lucrative biz as long as you don't actively take part either as the invader or the invaded

  6. AMBxx Silver badge

    Cloudflare

    They could continue the service, just turn off all the anti-hacking stuff and publish the IP addresses of the russian sites.

  7. Jeff 11

    "Russia needs more internet access, not less."

    I may be wrong, but IIRC Cloudflare and Akamai provide nothing that could be considered access or connectivity - just edge services layered on top of that.

    If that's correct then the two of them pulling out of Russia would have no long-term impact on the ordinary citizens of Russia, other than increasing latency - and mildly inconveniencing businesses using their Russian servers to reconfigure and use ones in other regions.

    1. Chz

      Plenty of sites rely completely on CloudFlare/Akamai though. Witness how the internet explodes when one of them goes down.

      Perhaps a poor example, as no-one in Russia needs better access to gambling, but I used to work for an online gaming company where the back end was connected by a 10Mb line. Every update had an hour's work of refreshing everything into CloudFlare first because if punters started to hit the back end directly it would choke and die in short order.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        I know of a state TV company who has cheaped out similarly on origin connectivity.

        Actually, that's unfair, it's wasn't the state-TV company who made that choice - it was the tin-pot supplier they went with. Originally the origin was going to be in AWS, but they decided that was too costly, and it'd be fair better to host the (single) origin on the other side of a 100Mbps link.

        The first big football match they carried, they had an outage. Not because of issues with the CDN though - they instructed their engineers to monitor the streams, those engineers streamed directly from the origin and saturated the link as a result.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Increasing latency" is already one of the tactics used by the Russian government to limit access to those foreign websites they don't like, so it's not as minor as it seems.

      If CDN servers inside Russia are deactivated, and all Russian customers terminated, it becomes really easy to block or throttle those servers without impacting the Russian internet, only those pesky foreign sites.

    3. ConsumedByFire

      Cloudflare will do your DNS for you so traffic goes through their security before it hits your servers. And they can use their DDoS service to prevent those kinda attacks. If you've signed up to that and they turn it off you need to redo your DNS and associated routing and lose the DDoS protection.

  8. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    I suppose that if there were regime change in Russia which was more hostile to housing cybercrime operations there might be less of a market for them elsewhere.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Prince said Cloudflare concluded: "Russia needs more internet access, not less."

    this is pure weaseling and embarrassing to weep for poor Russians, whom Cloudflare 'empowers' to seek alternative narrative, blahblahblah. Also, dumb business decision, it's very likely that, sooner rather than later, state censorship in Russia becomes pretty much watertight, and his business will stick out like a sore thumb from a steaming pile of shit. Then the fallout from this will be much more embarrasing. But hey, what do I know, I'm just a shitty bottomo-feeder, not a CEO strategy genius.

    1. Graham Cobb Silver badge

      Re: Prince said Cloudflare concluded: "Russia needs more internet access, not less."

      I think it is a harder analysis than you think.

      I am old enough to remember (from the West) Solzhenitsyn and the importance of Samizdat (if you are a young person - look them up). I don't think we know how the equivalents will work in today's world but things like Cloudflare & Akimai may have a role to play. Personally I think Tor might have more of a role - those folks have long experience of the ongoing cat and mouse game with the Chinese Great Firewall - but we just don't know yet.

      And they are certainly not in it for the money - there is no chance that Russia is going to be able to pay any reasonable amount of internationally tradeable currency.

      1. Yes Me Silver badge

        Re: Prince said Cloudflare concluded: "Russia needs more internet access, not less."

        Exactly. We do, actually, need ordinary Russians to be able to access neutral media (neither RT nor Fox News...) and for those who want to neutralise Putin to be able to communicate (encrypted).

        As already noted, Cloudflare will not earn useful money in Russia anyway, so this is not a financially based decision.

        1. Tilda Rice

          Re: Prince said Cloudflare concluded: "Russia needs more internet access, not less."

          There is almost no such thing as neutral media, you realise that no?

          Reuters or Associated Press online maybe, but all TV and newspapers are one way or tother.

          In the US you have one 1 lean right and 4 lean left conglomerates that control all the consumers received messages. So they will believe in the push for liberal democracy. If you are Russian or Chinese, you won't think that's such a great idea.

  10. JpChen

    Good money in DDOS protection at the moment. Would be interesting to see a list of customers that are being served

  11. __g

    No show for democracy

    Cloudflare protects (through hostiman.ru) such noble causes as the incredible propaganda site of rusemb.org.uk, who saw fit to accuse bombed and dying pregnant women of fake news and posing for fake news photographers. Oh yeah, and there is also a very useful site for planning your holiday on the "Russian" Krim on this provider. And these are just the first examples I found. So, Cloudflare, I say, your NO show for democracy will be remembered and accounted for as long as there is still some free corner of the world. Just enjoy your own freedom while you still can.

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