The Russian state media regulator, Roskomnadzor, pressured Google and Apple to remove the Smart Voting app of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny before elections as they will be criminally liable for interfering in the country’s domestic affairs if they don’t follow the order.
Al Jazeera reported that the statement was issued in light of the parliamentary elections later this month, with nearly all outspoken members of the opposition barred from running.
Google and Apple could be charged with up to four million roubles ($55,000) for not cooperating in restricting access to the app, according to the report. Russia viewed the disregard of U.S. companies from its requests, especially with restricting content it brands as “extremist,” unacceptable and interference in its domestic affairs.
Kremlin critic Navalny and his organization have been announced as extremist and as a result, his top aides have escaped the country. The media regulator had likewise banned dozens of sites associated with the app including his main website navalny.com.
Navalny promoted the app to help Russians vote out Putin’s United Russia in the upcoming polls. The incarcerated activist’s tactical voting plan is one of his last straws to shift the results of the elections after the crackdown on his movement which barred them from seeking public office and left them vulnerable to face lengthy sentences.
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