Sep 2, 2021 - World

Russia threatens to fine Apple, Google over Alexei Navalny app

Alexei Navalny on a screen during a court hearing in Petushki, Russia, in May 2021.

Alexei Navalny appears on a screen during a court hearing in Petushki, Russia, in May 2021. Photo: Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP via Getty Images

Russian state communications watchdog Roskomnadzor threatened to fine Apple and Google on Thursday if the companies did not remove an app associated with jailed opposition leader Alexei Navalny, according to AP.

Why it matters: It's a continuation of Russia's crackdown on major tech companies that have been spaces for freedom of expression in the country and comes just weeks before the Sept. 19 parliamentary elections.

The app, created by Navalny's allies, is meant to support candidates who have a chance to defeat members of United Russia, the country's ruling political party.

  • Roskomnadzor warned the companies that failure to remove the app from their stores would be considered election interference.

The big picture: A Russian court this year fined social media giant Twitter for failing to remove content the government deemed unlawful.

  • Russia's government previously threatened to ban Twitter entirely if it did not remove the content.
  • Russian activists used American internet companies, like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, and Chinese-owned TikTok, to organize anti-Kremlin protests over Navalny's imprisonment in January.

Go deeper: Alexei Navalny describes "psychological violence" in first interview from jail

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