Russia issues warning to Google and Apple over Kremlin critic Navalny’s app

Russia issues warning to Google and Apple over Kremlin critic Navalny's app

On Thursday, Roskomnadzor ramped up pressure on the Western tech giants saying they could be held criminally liable if they continue to refuse to comply with Russian law. Parliamentary elections are scheduled for later this month, with nearly all vocal Kremlin critics including Navalny’s allies barred from running. Last month, the state regulatory agency Roskomnadzor demanded that Google and Apple remove Navalny’s app from their stores. “Criminal liability is foreseen for organising, as well as taking part in the work of extremist organisations banned in Russia,” the regulator said in a statement.

A media regulator has warned that Western IT titans might face criminal charges if they do not comply with Russian legislation. Parliamentary elections are set to take place later this month, with almost all strong Kremlin critics, including Alexei Navalny’s friends, prohibited from standing. Russia’s official communications regulator has warned that Google and Apple’s reluctance to delete imprisoned Kremlin critic Alexey Navalny’s app before elections might be interpreted as involvement in internal affairs.

Failure to block the app “can be considered interference” in Russian elections and will lead to hefty fines, the statement warned. Roskomnadzor said Google and Apple could face an initial fine of up to four million roubles ($55,000) for not restricting access to the app, Interfax news agency said. “Failure to take action is a breach of Russian law … and may also be viewed as interference by the US companies in Russia’s elections,” it said. Foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said US tech giants ignoring requests by Russian authorities to delete “illegal content” had become “systemic”.

Russian court bans Alexey Navalny groups, labels them ‘extremist’ “Such arrogant, selective behaviour and demonstrative disregard for multiple requests by authorised Russian structures regarding content recognised as extremist is becoming truly unacceptable,” she told reporters.

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