Thousands of protesters had gathered outside government headquarters in Magas, the capital of the heavily Muslim republic of Ingushetia in Russia's north Caucasus.

They were there to oppose concessions in a years'-long bitter border dispute with neighbouring Chechnya, but when they tried to share information about the protest on WhatsApp they found the internet was down on all three major Russian mobile providers across Ingushetia.

The October outage began late at night before the protest was scheduled to start, and lasted until it died down more than two weeks later. When protests sparked up again, the internet suddenly went out

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The 'doomsday' effort at online independence