"The removal of Arctic.ru falls in line with the Western understanding of freedom of speech: it is there, but not for all, as for Russian outlets, it doesn't exist at all. First, Facebook blocked the accounts of our journalists, now it has turned to nature and polar bears. We understand — we are strategic adversaries and so on. But stop trying to teach the whole world your 'democratic' values and call a spade a spade. In this case, censorship", the press service for Rossiya Segodnya stated.
In January of this year, the social network platform blocked Sputnik pages and employee accounts. Last week, it also blocked a project page with recipes for Russian cuisine without any explanation.
Yelena Davydova, head of federal internet projects at Rossiya Segodnya, announced that she will continue to seek clarification from Facebook on the matter despite having not yet received any replies to initial requests for an explanation.
"We were as apolitical as possible, adhered to the facts and refrained from expressing our own opinions. We published legislative initiatives and acts on the conservation and development of the Arctic territories, information on the wildlife of the Arctic and the indigenous peoples of the North, both Russian and foreign, and the history of Arctic expeditions, in particular, diaries of polar stations".
"School teachers even contact us to help them organise thematic lessons or lectures. Blocking an account on the eve of two major events in Russia 'Arctic: Present and Future' and 'Days of the Arctic in Moscow' is pretty much a knife in the back", the agency's press service quoted Davydova as saying.
Arctic.ru is a special project by Rossiya Segodnya that launched on 1 August 2015, with financial support from the Russian Geographical Society. The site covers various topics on the region, including the economy and international cooperation in the Arctic, the environment, and the preservation of the indigenous peoples, Northern Sea Route infrastructure, tourism, etc.