YouTube Under Threat: Analysis of Blocking Scenarios in Belarus


The Future of YouTube in Belarus: Between Shaping and Censorship

On the eve of the New Year, an event in Belarus caused concern among internet users and experts: the temporary unavailability of YouTube. This incident drew attention to the potential long-term blocking of the popular video hosting service in the country. We have reviewed expert opinions to understand what might await YouTube in Belarus.

Testing or Technical Failure? Mikhail Dorоshevich, a media analyst, co-founder of the Digital Skills Coalition Belarus, suggests that the temporary shutdown of YouTube could have been due to “shaping” – a limitation of bandwidth. This is supported by Google data, which shows a 45% drop in YouTube traffic in Belarus during the incident【2. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty】.

Nikolai Kvantaliani, a digital security expert, , co-founder of the Digital Skills Coalition Belarus, also believes that it was not a complete shutdown, but a reduction in traffic by 40-45%. He suggests the use of Russian-Chinese technologies for blocking and notes the possibility of the Belarusian authorities adopting similar measures【3. Deutsche Welle】.

Views of Political Commentators Alexander Fridman, a political commentator, expressed the view that the temporary disconnection of YouTube might have been a test of the reaction of Belarusians and emphasized the importance of the platform as a resource for entertainment and educational content【1. Nasha Niva】.

Pavel Bykovsky, a senior analyst at Media IQ, recalled Belarus’s previous experience in blocking websites and expressed doubt about a long-term block of YouTube, not ruling out temporary restrictions【1. Nasha Niva】.

Censorship and Political Control Alexander Klassovsky, a political analyst, doubts the complete blocking of YouTube in Belarus, considering its popularity and use for propaganda purposes. He suggests that the authorities might introduce softer methods of censorship, such as content filtering【1. Nasha Niva】.

Overall Analysis Analyzing the opinions of experts, it can be concluded that a complete block of YouTube in Belarus is unlikely, but temporary access restrictions as a tool to control the information space cannot be ruled out. Such a situation shows the potential desire of the authorities to control access to alternative sources of information.

Additional Sources:
Psiphon Data on Usage During Internet Shaping on December 31, 2023

Данные goolge transparency report о “Трафик и сбои сервисов Google”, при шейпинге интернета 31 12 2023

Google Transparency Report Data on “Google Service Traffic and Disruptions” During Internet Shaping on December 31, 2023

OONI Data During Internet Shaping on December 31, 2023:

Cloudflare Data During Internet Shaping on December 31, 2023:

About Traffic Anomalies:



  1. Nasha Niva, “«Лукашенко выглядел плохо». Эксперты оценили перспективы блокировки в Беларуси YouTube”, доступно на
  2. Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, “Hour-Long Blocking of the Popular Video Hosting Service YouTube in Belarus”, available at
  3. Deutsche Welle, “New Year’s Disconnection: Should We Expect YouTube to be Blocked in Belarus”, available at
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Digital Skills Coalition Belarus