Why I cannot access a banned Russian site from US through Tor, even if I can access it directly?

I cannot access a russian opposition site https://echo.msk.ru from US on March 2 2022. This site was recently banned in Russia.
I do get a very rare access if I press Ctrl+Shift+L (to get new circuit) dozens of times. Access to this site worked OK until the ban.
But I have no difficulty accessing it from US using normal browser (without TOR).
I wonder, it is possible that majority of TOR circuits are under control of russian government now? How else can they disrupt access?
(I assume that since I am in US I do not need to setup a bridge).
Thank you

As there are many ongoing DDoS against Russian websites these days, I recommend you try loading the website again later. Some websites and CDN providers can temporarily limit or even block Tor users completely from visiting their websites.
Please make sure that you’re using an up to date Tor Browser (11.0.6).

Nope, that’s just FUD propaganda.

If a website is blocking Tor users, using a bridge won’t change anything. Bridges are used to enter the Tor network when your ISP is blocking Tor and not to exit to a website.

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You can try to force a Russian exit node via torrc config. There is only less than a handful on the other hand:

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They were not blocking TOR last week (before they were banned). And access without TOR or from a working TOR circuit is very fast, so it does not look like they are under DOS. But total majority of circuits simply time out (no response at all). When google is blocking TOR they show an appropriate message, but do not timeout.
And I do not think that I want a russian exit node because they are known to be blocked from accessing the site.
Even if TOR is not under russian control, is it possible that those failing circuits route though russia or other countries, which comply with the ban?

The site you name is hosted at an IP address inside Russia. We know taht Roskomnadzor has directed ISPs to block traffic to/from Tor node IP addresses. So probably your packets sent via Tor never reach the web server.

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There isn’t a rule for that. Sometimes websites just silently block Tor users.

It’s also important to note that this website is hosted in a Russian ISP (AS56552) and it worth investigating if they are throttling Tor users. See, for example, how Roskomnadzor throttled twitter. But, again, it definitely needs more investigation.

All the traffic between Tor nodes is encrypted multiple times, so Tor relays can’t manipulate or enforce such thing.


If censors would have blocked all incoming access to the banned site, then I would not have been able to access it from US, right?
But, so far, fingers crossed, direct access from US works OK.
May be they only blocked access from within russia or from a set of countries? If majority of TOR endpoints are in those countries - it will explain the observed failure to access through TOR.
And, of course, it is possible that they forced site provider to block most known TOR endpoints (which was not the case a week ago).

What do you mean by “most known”? All Tor exits nodes are publicly available to download from the Tor metrics website.

One week ago that website wasn’t blocked by Roskomnadzor and there wasn’t a war happening in Ukraine. And if you read the news, the board of directors dissolved the radio station.

OK, I did not know about that.
I know that another site popular in russia - livejournal.com - is blocking most TOR circuits (but not all) with message “your ip address is banned” - they are doing it for about a year already, I guess it is for performance reasons, not censorship.

But the Web site is still working. May be it is hijacked by the government?

hmm… i cannot access the site through a normal browser. It says “error code 405: access denied” maybe it did get shut down

Echo of Moscow has hardcore-configured anti-ddos or WAF, it’s hardly accessible outside of Russia. Out of 50+ proxies i’ve tested (not Tor), only 3 worked.

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Yesterday was its last day. Now it is gone. In the past it worked pretty well with or without TOR