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Russia may ban Skype to protect domestic firms

Russians may soon have to put away their Skype toys

In an act of blatant protectionism, Russia is looking to draft laws that could restrict or ban internet telephony services like Skype and Google Voice.

The move comes at the prompting of an influential business lobby called the Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, which represents many of Russia's biggest businesses.

No foreigners here

They say allowing outside VoIP providers to operate in Russia is unfair and domestic mobile phone companies like MegaFon can't compete on an equal footing.

A statement sent by the group explained: "Most I.P. telephony market brands, such as Skype and ICQ, are foreign, and that is why we have to protect the domestic producer."

The lobby will now draft proposed legislation and hope the Russian authorities take heed and restrict their citizens' access to free and cheap telephone services.