With its homepage full of cooking tips, the latest sporting highlights and cute animal clips, RuTube bears an uncanny similarity to its American counterpart, YouTube.
A little further down, however, its news and media section is dominated by the likes of Russian state-owned RT, Sputnik and Rossiya 24.
Originally launched in 2006, and bought by Gazprom Media in 2020, RuTube has been billed by Kremlin officials as a patriotic alternative to its Google-owned rival. But Vladimir Putin’s attempts to rebuild the web in the Kremlin’s own image – and force Russians on to apps where it can control the narrative – are floundering.
Apps outside of state control remain overwhelmingly popular. Some 63pc of Russia’s population of 144m watch YouTube videos. An estimated 84m use Facebook-owned WhatsApp.
Moscow’s attempts to rein in technology companies has ramped up in recent months, rapping Google with a $365m (300m) fine for “prohibited content” and what it claims to be false videos about the war…