- Alphabet’s Google was fined 21.1 billion roubles ($373 million) by a Moscow court for a repeated failure to remove content Russia deems illegal
- YouTube has been a particular target of the punishment
- The total amount of fines for Google and its subsidiaries exceeds 7.2 billion rubles so far
Russia’s communications regulator, Roskomnadzor announced that a court in the district of Moscow gave a penalty of $373 million to Alphabet’s Google. The penalty is a result of Google’s violating the policy for restricting access to information recognized as prohibited in Russia.
YouTube has been a particular target
Google and its subsidiaries are regularly held main liable for violations of Russian law in respect of the decline to remove prohibited information. Alphabet’s YouTube has been a particular target of the state’s annoyance. Youtube was blamed for not deleting banned content by Russian law and it kept allowing access to several materials containing prohibited content. The regulator, Roskomnadzor has stated the banned information that was allowed to access are as below;
- Fakes about the course of a special military operation in Ukraine, discrediting the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation
- Materials promoting extremism and terrorism
- Materials promoting an indifferent attitude to the life and health of minors
- Information with appeals, including to minors, to participate in unauthorized mass actions
The fine was calculated as a share of Google’s annual turnover in Russia. So far, the total amount of fines for such offenses exceeds 7.2 billion rubles. The Alphabet Inc, Google unit has been under pressure in Russia for months for the same reasons. Since Ukraine’s war started, the tech company stopped its sales and commercial operations in the country. It has moved many of its employees out of Russia since. The employees that preferred to stay, are no longer working for Google.
The company’s assets and property were seized by the Russian government. Russia’s official registry Fedresurs stated the Google subsidiary was intending to declare bankruptcy. However, the Russian government does not plan to block Google and its subsidiaries despite repeated threats and fines. Such a move would likely see Russian users suffer. Google keeps its free services, including Youtube, Gmail, Maps, Android, and Play available for Russian users.