Google and Apple have removed an application developed by Russian activists backing Kremlin critic and opposition leader Alexei Navalny from Russian versions of their app stores, his team said Friday after Russia blamed US tech companies. for electoral intervention.
"Removing the Navalny app from stores is a shameful act of political censorship," Ivan Zhdanov, Navalny's ally, said in a Twitter post.
The Big Tech have come under intense pressure from the Russian government to withdraw content that is considered illegal in the run-up to parliamentary and local elections from Friday to Sunday.
Since mid-August, Russian federal censorship agency Roskomnadzor has threatened Apple and Google with fines if they do not remove Navalny from the App Store and Google Play store. In the announcements sent to the technology companies, the censorship body stated that any involvement in the activities of an extremist organization is considered a crime.
Navalny's non-profit organization, along with its movement headquarters, have been categorized by the Russian government as extremist organizations since May, as previously reported by the Russian news agency TASS.
Navalny was arrested and jailed in February after returning to Russia from Germany, where he spent months recovering from a poisoning he, the United States and the European Union attributed to Russia's ruling party. The Kremlin has denied any role in his illness.
Source of information: nbcnews.com