TECH GIANTS – APPLE AND GOOGLE BOW TO RUSSIA’S PRESSURE TO REMOVE KREMLIN CRITIC’S TACTICAL VOTING APP
As the issue of opposition to Putin’s administration intensifies, crackdown measures to curb and contain all potential avenues used by the Kremlin critic ‘Alexei Navalny’ remains Moscow’s priority precisely in its political sphere, hence, U.S. tech giants – Apple and Google in response to Russian federal court order have removed from their respective app stores within Russia a tactical voting app created by Navalny’s organization.
In view of this, Reuters earlier this week reported that the Russian state has stepped up pressure on foreign tech companies ahead of federal elections – appropriating the language of “election interference” aimed at pushing U.S. companies to censor the high-profile political opponent to President ‘Vladimir Putin’.
As a result, a key Navalny ally ‘Ivan Zhdanov’, tweeted that his organization currently intends to sue the iOS and Android giants over the removal of the apps – an act which the organization classified as a “huge mistake”.
Nonetheless, to confirm Apple’s response to Team Navalny – Zhdanov published as he cites the Kremlin’s classification of a number of pro-Navalny organizations as “extremist” groups which are also viewed as a move to justify its removal of the software.
It’s worth noting that the subject tech giants – Apple and Google routinely say they comply with “all local laws” regarding the countries where they operate. And as for Russia, some say the act to comply meant they’ve become complicit in acts of political censorship.
“We note that the Prosecutor’s Office of the Russian Federation and the Prosecutor’s Office of the City of Moscow has also determined that the app violates the legislation of the Russian Federation by enabling interference in elections”, the iOS giant writes in the notification of takedown it sent to the developer of the tactical voting platform.
“While your app has been removed from the Russia App Store, it is still available in the App Stores for the other territories you selected in App Store Connect”, Apple added.
To ensure that the opposition’s fight isn’t put to bed through this act, Zhdanov made it clear via Tweeter as he urged supporters to focus mainly on the tactical voting mission as their priority while tweeting a link to a video hosted on Google-owned YouTube which contains recommendations to Russians on the steps to take to cast an anti-Putin vote in the parliamentary elections that is currently ongoing until Sunday.
Therefore, as oppositions ensure that they remain focused on their goal, yet uncertain over a potential candidate that could unseat Putin, it was noted that Navalny’s supporters are hoping to mobilize voters across Russia to cast tactical ballots in a bid to unseat in incumbent government by voting whatever candidate that has the best chance of defeating the United Russia party.
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