russia's President Vladimir Putin
Russia's President Vladimir PutinReuters

The Kremlin is mulling measures to cut Russia off the global internet network in case of emergencies, including mass protests, it has been reported.

President Vladimir Putin is to chair a national Security Council meeting next week to discuss how Moscow can strengthen its control over its share of the World Wide Web, according to Russian daily Vedomosti.

The meeting follows security drills held in July by the communications Ministry, which revealed Russia is vulnerable to cyber-attacks.

Citing sources at different internet provider companies, the newspaper said that among the proposals on the table to make Russian internet more independent, particularly from US influence, is the possibility of temporarily unplugging Russia from the Web in extreme circumstances.

"Russian operators will have to adjust their equipment so that in case of emergency the Russian Internet can be quickly disconnected," the newspaper wrote.

A source suggested that "acts of war as well as serious protest in the country," could be considered as emergency situations leading to an internet shut down.

"He recalled how in 2011, during the riots in Egypt, local authorities cut off the Internet and mobile communications throughout the country," the article read.

The move would arguably further restrict freedom of speech in Russia, as with mainstream media firmly under the Kremlin's control, internet has remained as the sole platform to voice dissent.

Putin opponents, such as anti-corruption campaigner Alexei Navalny, have used blogs and forums to organise protests in the past.

In a first attempt to restrict their influence, earlier this year, the parliament approved a package of restrictions on bloggers, forcing holders of pages with 3,000 or more views a day to reveal their identities and personal details to a special register.

Earlier this month, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev described the internet as a "very contradictory sphere of human activity".

"It can't be strangled but we should know what is happening there," he told Vedomosti, calling for more controls.

Russia has Europe's fastest-growing Internet audience with 61 million users, according to a 2013 report by industry body comScore.