Navalny of Russia criticizes Apple and Google for removing apps, social media posts say
MOSCOW, Sept. 23 (Reuters) – Jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny has said that Google (GOOGL.O) and Apple (AAPL.O) have been “cowardly” and behaved as accomplices of Russian President Vladimir Putin by removing a voting app ahead of this month’s election, according to his social media accounts.
Supporters of Navalny had previously accused U.S. tech giants of yielding to pressure from the Kremlin by removing the anti-government tactical voting app from their stores at the start of the three days of parliamentary voting, which ended on Sunday. Read more
Navalny, who is in prison, added his criticisms, according to comments made by his social media accounts.
“The giants Apple @Apple and Google @Google have complied with the Kremlin’s demands and removed our app from their stores. My beloved YouTube deleted our video and the Telegram messenger blocked our bot,” he said. stated in messages.
“I know most of those who work at Google, Apple, etc. are honest and good people. I urge them not to put up with the cowardice of their bosses,” he said.
Alphabet’s Apple and Google did not respond to requests for comment sent last week after Navalny supporters criticized them. Google did not immediately respond to a new request for comment sent by email on Thursday. Apple could not be reached immediately.
The tactical voting app, designed by Navalny’s allies, gave people detailed recommendations on who to vote for in order to thwart the ruling United Russia party, which backs Putin.
United Russia won a majority in the lower house of the State Duma parliament, amid accusations of massive fraud by supporters of Navalny and other parties. The Election Commission said the vote was clean and the Kremlin called it an honest vote. Read more
Google decided to remove the app after learning that its local staff risk jail time, a person familiar with the situation said last week on condition of anonymity.
Responding to the comment, Navalny said in his social media posts: “If so, then keeping silent about it is the worst crime. It is an encouragement to a terrorist taking hostages. “
Report by Vladimir Soldatkin; Editing by Edmund Blair
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