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Alexei Navalny's Smart Voting app is seen on a phone in Moscow. Photo: Natalia Kolesnikova/AFP

Apple and Google have deleted jailed Kremlin opposition leader Alexei Navalny's tactical voting app from their app stores, per Reuters.

Why it matters: The tech companies removed the opposition-led Smart Voting app on the same day Russians head to the polls to elect a new parliament amid the largest crackdown of Kremlin critics in years.

The app, created by Navalny's allies, was designed to rally support for candidates who are most likely to defeat members of the country's ruling political party, United Russia.

  • The Russian government previously threatened to fine the tech companies if they did not delete the app, arguing they were interfering with the elections.

What they're saying: "Removing the Navalny app from stores is a shameful act of political censorship," Ivan Zhdanov, a top Navalny aide, said on Twitter. "Russia's authoritarian government and propaganda will be thrilled."

The big picture: Russian activists have used American tech companies, like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, and Chinese-owned TikTok to organize anti-Kremlin rallies over Russian President Vladimir Putin's grip on power.

Go deeper

Nov 19, 2021 - World

Top Democrat proposes crushing sanctions if Russia invades Ukraine

Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) has introduced an amendment that would trigger a cascade of sanctions against top Russian officials, the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline, major financial institutions, sovereign debt transactions and more in the event of a Russian invasion of Ukraine.

Why it matters: U.S. officials have been sounding the alarm about Russia's massive military buildup on the eastern border of Ukraine. The sanctions threat is intended to serve as a powerful deterrent against Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Kendall Baker, author of Sports
18 mins ago - Sports

College football gone mad

Former Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly walks in front of his players. Photo: David Madison/Getty Images

In the span of two days, the head coaches of two of the biggest college football programs in America have jumped ship, wooed by even greater challenges — and the almighty dollar.

Driving the news: Lincoln Riley is ditching Oklahoma for USC in a deal reportedly worth $110 million. LSU poached Brian Kelly from Notre Dame with a reported 10-year, $100 million contract.

Biden administration makes first move on data privacy

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Biden administration is launching its first big effort on privacy policy by looking at how data privacy issues affect civil rights.

Why it matters: An administration perspective on privacy policy could be key in developing a long-awaited national privacy law by putting the White House stamp on how to regulate privacy.

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