Instagram is blocked in Russia as of Monday. So Russian developers created Rossgram.
On March 28, Rossgram will open to bloggers, sponsors and investors. Regular users will have access by April and be able to download the platform on Android and iOS. It will include monetization tools like paid access to content, a crowdfunding tool, a referral program and more.
"My partner Kirill Filimonov and our group of developers were already ready for this turn of events and decided not to miss the opportunity to create a Russian analogue of a popular social network beloved by our compatriots," Alexander Zobov, one of the people building the app, wrote on the VKontakte social network, Reuters reported.
The project was announced just days after Russia blocked access to Instagram and called for parent company Meta to be designated as an “extremist” group after Meta said it would allow calls for violence against Russian soldiers as they relate to the war in Ukraine.
It’s unsurprising that Russian developers would create an Instagram clone rather than a platform similar to Facebook, which is also blocked in the country. Instagram is way more popular than Facebook in Russia, based on the number of downloads from the App Store and Google Play.
More broadly, Russia has been working to create its own “splinternet” that operates separately from the Western world since even before the war, Politico reported. Tech companies' increased pressure on the country may only speed up that process.