After Russian authorities seized Google’s local bank account, parent company Alphabet declared its subsidiary in Russia will apply for bankruptcy. The Kremlin-driven action is the latest in a string of attempts to isolate the Russian people from information about the Ukraine invasion.
Since Russia invaded Ukraine, Google has been its top adversary in denying the state-controlled media’s narrative on the war.
Later on, in March, Google performed a series of actions directed at Russia:
- Discontinued all Russia-targeted advertising;
- Banned Kremlin-directed Russian media channels on YouTube across the world;
- Denied the YouTube removal of war material considered illegal.
The Russian communications watchdog has threatened to penalize Google several times for not removing illegal content. Last month’s ban on Google News in the country was due to it publishing “inauthentic” material on the war.
Implications of Google’s bankruptcy in Russia
In a statement shared with Forbes, a Google representative highlighted how Alphabet intends to maintain YouTube, Gmail, and its search engine available for Russian citizens.
“People in Russia rely on our services to access quality information.”— Google spokesperson
Moreover, according to Business Insider, the spokesperson stated the following about Google’s filing for bankruptcy in Russia:
“The Russian authorities’ seizure of Google Russia’s bank account has made it untenable for our Russia office to function, including employing and paying Russia-based employees, paying suppliers and vendors, and meeting other financial obligations.”
Since mid-March, Russia’s Federal Bailiffs Service’s database has recorded two seizures. One was not specified due to an unclaimed amount. According to the service, Google assets and property were seized.
Since the outset of the crisis in Ukraine, Google has moved many of its personnel out of Russia. However, some had remained.
Russia demanded that Google shut down and censor its platform for sharing ads regarding the war. Over the following few days in March, all four major credit card companies withdrew from Russia. Consequently, routine commercial interactions became extremely difficult. Google said that this “payment system disruption” was behind its decision to stop selling paid apps on Play.
We do not know if and when Google can continue to have a presence in Russia.
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