Russia threatens fines if Apple & Google don't remove opposition app

in General Discussion edited September 16
A Russian media watchdog reportedly plans to fine Apple and Google if they refuse to remove an opposition leader's app from their respective app stores.

Credit: Evgenit/Pixabay
Credit: Evgenit/Pixabay

Roskomnadzor, a Russian federal organization responsible for monitoring and controlling mass media in the country, recently signaled its plans to fine the companies if they don't remove the app. According to Russian news agency TASS, a decision could be made soon if the companies don't take action, though the watchdog is not yet at that point.

"So far, we have not taken [action] and we are watching for the reaction of both companies," said Vadim Subbotin, deputy head of Roskomnadzor. "Their reaction will be the grounds for decision making, in particular for imposing fines. If they refuse, fines will be applied."

The app in question, called "Smart Voting," is a service designed to bolster candidates that have the best shot at challenging incumbents backed by the Kremlin and the United Russia party, The Associated Press has reported. The app was first envisioned by Alexei Navalny, an imprisoned opposition leader.

Back in August, Roskomnadzor demanded that Apple and Google remove the app from their respective app marketplaces. At the time, no fines were threatened.

Roskomnadzor has recently warned foreign companies not to interfere in Russia's nationwide elections. The elections of the 8th State Duma -- the lower house of the country's legislative body -- are slated for Sept. 19, 2021.

Apple has run afoul of Russian authorities in the past. In April 2021, Russian officials fined Apple $12 million for breaking monopoly laws in the country. Also, in April, the Cupertino tech giant was forced to comply with a new law requiring specific, government-approved apps to be preinstalled on devices.

Read on AppleInsider


  • Reply 1 of 13
    In soviet Russia fines don't threaten Russia, Russia threatens fines!
  • Reply 2 of 13
    Russia can interfere in US elections, but Apple can't allow a Navalny app? 

  • Reply 3 of 13
    Russia can interfere in US elections, but Apple can't allow a Navalny app? 

    This is how Russia think. 
  • Reply 4 of 13
    rob53rob53 Posts: 2,718member
    I don't know why Apple is even selling or allowed to sell products in Russia by either government. China is a bit different because Apple needs China for manufacturing. Apple doesn't need anything Russia provides as far as I know (natural resources?) so if push comes to shove, they could easily ban all exports to Russia. I don't know how many products they actually sell to Russia, other than the ones given to Russian intelligence by our CIA (No, I have no information they do this but do I trust the CIA? Absolutely not.). If Apple wants to stay in Russia, then need to play by Russia's rules. Sorry, but in the US, Apple needs to play by the USA's rules so what's the difference? Apple will do the least amount necessary to comply with Russian demands. If Russia demands too much, I could see Apple removing themselves and blocking all access to existing Apple products in Russia (no updates, no apps).
  • Reply 5 of 13
    Is anyone surprised?  President-for-Life Putin gives no f*cks what anyone thinks.
  • Reply 6 of 13
    JWSCJWSC Posts: 1,048member
    Isn’t it wonderful being a $2.5T company and having to deal with all this BS?  Damned if you do.  Damned if you don’t.  What’s a CEO to do?
  • Reply 7 of 13
    cgWerkscgWerks Posts: 2,747member
    This is no different than the USA, Canada, China, etc. The power/censorship just manifests differently (and whether Apple agrees with it or not).

    Apple is going to have to decide if they actually stand for anything, or if they just hold their finger to the wind or consider consequences, to decide what they stand for.jeffharris said:
    Russia can interfere in US elections, but Apple can't allow a Navalny app? 

    Everyone can interfere with US elections, so long as the outcome is as intended.

    viclauyyc said:
    This is how Russia think. 
    And it seems, most on the 'Western' political left, these days. (player should start at 28:10, but for some reason maybe the embed doesn't?)

    edited September 16 watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 13
    Your move, Apple. 
  • Reply 9 of 13
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 9,627member
    Apple consistently states that it follows the law in countries it does business in. So that means if the U.S. Congress passes laws that require back doors to iOS, macOS Apple will most certainly comply with that law, correct? It’s coming, folks, it’s coming.
  • Reply 10 of 13
    Ivan doesn't want us engaging with their elections?   Tell them to stay out of ours.
    Otherwise, tell Ivan to suck it.
  • Reply 11 of 13
    roakeroake Posts: 775member
    Meanwhile, current Russian leadership is drafting a law to force Apple to inject hashes into the looming Apple CSAM tech to recognize certain opposition photos and graphics. This way, Apple very efficiently gives the Kremlin a list of citizens opposition Putin.
  • Reply 12 of 13
    And just like that, Apple bent over for Russia and removed the opposition's app. Courage! (Not).
  • Reply 13 of 13
    JWSCJWSC Posts: 1,048member
    hexclock said:
    Your move, Apple. 
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