Alexeï Nawalny’s app | Google and Apple are taking part in “electoral interference,” says Moscow

(Moscow) The Russian telecommunications gendarme estimated on Thursday that the refusal of the American giants Apple and Google to remove the application of the opponent Alexei Navalny could amount to “electoral interference”.

Posted on Sep 2, 2021 at 10:23 am

Within three weeks, parliamentary elections will be held in Russia without the participation of Mr Navalny’s allies, who have been banned from voting or forced into exile since their organizations were banned and declared “extremist” in June.

On August 20, the Russian telecommunications surveillance service Roskomnadzor had asked Google and Apple to remove the opponent’s application available in their online shops.

Roskomnadzor issued a second warning to American companies on Thursday in a statement consulted by AFP.

Organizing or participating in extremist organizations that are banned in Russia can be prosecuted.

Excerpt from a warning issued by the Russian telecommunications surveillance service Roskomnadzor

The Russian agency added that the refusal to remove the motion in question “may be viewed as electoral interference”.

During her weekly press conference, Russian diplomacy spokeswoman Maria Sakharova described Google and Apple’s stance as “unacceptable in light of the current election processes.”

Many opposition sides in Russia blocked

Since the ban on Mr Navalny’s organizations, several sides of the opponent in Russia have been blocked by Roskomnadzor.

Alexei Navalny, who in February was sentenced to two and a half years in prison in a case that he had denounced as political, urged his supporters to use his application to find and elect the candidates who can best beat those of the Kremlin.

This “smart voting” strategy has achieved some successes in local elections since 2019, particularly in Moscow.

The activist’s spokeswoman, Kira Iarmych, on Thursday denounced Roskomnadzor’s interference in the Russian elections and called on Twitter to download the application “as soon as possible”.

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