Russia accuses Google, Apple of election interference | The Guardian Nigeria News


(FILES) In this file photo taken on January 21, 2020 a sign of Google is seen at Google’s stand during the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos. – US officials are preparing a new antitrust lawsuit against Google over its power in the online advertising market, Bloomberg reported September 1, 2021. Bloomberg cited an unnamed person familiar with the matter as saying the Justice Department could file the litigation by the end of the year. (Photo by Fabrice COFFRINI / AFP)

Russia said Thursday that Google and Apple’s refusal to remove jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny’s app ahead of elections could be seen as interference in the country’s domestic affairs.

The country is holding parliamentary elections later this month, with nearly all vocal Kremlin critics including Navalny’s allies barred from running.

Last month Russian communications watchdog Roskomnadzor demanded that Google and Apple remove Navalny’s app from their stores.

On Thursday, Roskomnadzor ramped up pressure on the Western tech giants by saying they could be held criminally liable if they continue to refuse to comply with Russian law.

“Criminal liability is foreseen for organising as well as taking part in the work of extremist organisations banned in Russia,” the media watchdog said in a statement carried by Russian news agencies.

Failure to block the app “can be considered interference” in Russian elections and will lead to hefty fines, the watchdog added.

Roskomnadzor did not immediately provide a comment when contacted by AFP.

Earlier this year, opposition leader Navalny saw his organisations declared “extremist” and banned in the country, while all of his top aides have fled.

The media regulator then barred dozens of websites linked to Navalny including his main website

In a message from prison, Navalny has urged supporters to download an app that aims to help Russians to vote out candidates from the ruling United Russia party in the upcoming polls.

The “Smart Voting” tactic has seen the increasingly unpopular United Russia party lose a number of seats in recent local elections.

“If something can be called ‘interference in Russian elections’, it is the attempts of Roskomnadzor to block the Smart Voting app,” Navalny’s spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh said on Twitter. “Download them asap.”


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts