Dropping support for the .ru top level domain

Patrick Bryant patrick at pbryant.com
Tue Mar 15 09:07:37 UTC 2022

I propose dropping support of the .ru domains as an alternative to the
other measures discussed here, such as dropping Russian ASNs -- which
*would* have the counterproductive effect of isolating the Russian public
from western news sources. Blocking those ASNs would also be futile as a
network defense, if not implemented universally, since the bad actors in
Russia usually exploit proxies in other countries as pivot points for their

Preventing the resolution of the .ru TLD would not impact the Russian
public's ability to resolve and access all other TLDs. As I noted, there
are countermeasures, including Russia standing up its own root servers, but
there are two challenges to countermeasure: 1) it would require modifying
evey hints file on every resolver within Russia and, 2) "other measures"
could be taken against whatever servers Russia implemented as substitutes.
Dropping support for the .ru TLD action may incentivize the Russian State
to bifurcate its national network, making it another North Korea, but that
action is already underway.

Other arguments are political, and I do not presume to set international
political policy. I only offer a technical opinion, not a political one.
The legalistic arguments of maintaining treaties is negated by the current
state of war.

On Tue, Mar 15, 2022 at 2:29 AM Fred Baker <fredbaker.ietf at gmail.com> wrote:

> My viewpoint, and the reason I recommended against it, is that it gives
> Putin something he has wanted for a while, which is a Russia in which he is
> in control of information flows. We do for him what he has wanted for
> perhaps 20 years, and come out the bad guys - “the terrible west gut us
> off!”.  I would rather have people in Russia have information flows that
> have a second viewpoint other than the Kremlin’s. I have no expectation
> that it will get through uncensored, but I would rather it was not in any
> sense “our fault” and therefore usable by Putin’s propaganda machine.
> Sent from my iPad
> On Mar 14, 2022, at 2:14 PM, Brian R <briansupport at hotmail.com> wrote:
> I can understand governments wanting this to be an option but I would let
> them do blocking within their countries to their own people if that is
> their desire.  This is another pandoras box.  Its bad enough that some
> countries control this already to block free flow of information.
> If global DNS is no longer trusted then many actors will start maintaining
> their own broken lists (intentionally or unintentionally).
>    - This will not stop Russia, they will just run their own state
>    sponsored DNS servers.  We can imagine what else might be implemented on
>    that concept...
>    - Countries or users that still want access will do the same with
>    custom DNS servers.
>    - This will take us down another path of no return as a global
>    standard that is not political or politically controlled.
>    - The belief that the internet is open and free (as much as possible)
>    will be broken in one more way.
>    - This will also accelerate the advancement of crypto DNS like
>    NameCoin (Years ago I liked the idea but I don't know how it is being
>    run anymore.) or UnstoppableDomains for example.   Similar to what is
>    starting to happen to central banking as countries start shutting down bank
>    accounts for political reasons.
> I am glad to see soo many people on here and many of the organizations
> running these services state as much.
> Brian
> ------------------------------
> *From:* NANOG <nanog-bounces+briansupport=hotmail.com at nanog.org> on
> behalf of Patrick Bryant <patrick at pbryant.com>
> *Sent:* Saturday, March 12, 2022 2:47 AM
> *To:* nanog at nanog.org <nanog at nanog.org>
> *Subject:* Dropping support for the .ru top level domain
> I don't like the idea of disrupting any Internet service. But the current
> situation is unprecedented.
> The Achilles Heel of general public use of Internet services has always
> been the functionality of DNS.
> Unlike Layer 3 disruptions, dropping or disrupting support for the .ru TLD
> can be accomplished without disrupting the Russian population's ability to
> access information and services in the West.
> The only countermeasure would be the distribution of Russian national DNS
> zones to a multiplicity of individual DNS resolvers within Russia. Russian
> operators are in fact implementing this countermeasure, but it is a slow
> and arduous process, and it will entail many of the operational
> difficulties that existed with distributing Host files, which DNS was
> implemented to overcome.
> The .ru TLD could be globally disrupted by dropping the .ru zone from the
> 13 DNS root servers. This would be the most effective action, but would
> require an authoritative consensus. One level down in DNS delegation are
> the 5 authoritative servers. I will leave it to the imagination of others
> to envision what action that could be taken there...
> ru      nameserver = a.dns.ripn.net
> ru      nameserver = b.dns.ripn.net
> ru      nameserver = d.dns.ripn.net
> ru      nameserver = e.dns.ripn.net
> ru      nameserver = f.dns.ripn.net
> The impact of any action would take time (days) to propagate.
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