Google and Apple have removed the election app of Russian opposition leader Alexej Navalny from their app stores on the day the Russian elections begin. The tech companies have been at odds with Russian media and internet monitoring firm Roskomnadzor for some time, threatening a fine if the app is not removed. Russia has accused US technology companies of interfering in the Russian elections.
The reason for Roskomnadzor’s clash with Google and Apple was that Navalny was declared an extremist organization in June and thus was banned. Russia has also claimed that the Navalny app is linked to the US Department of Defense. Relatives of the opposition leader consider the measure taken by “Google” and “Apple” absurd and speak of “outrageous political censorship”. Google and Apple have yet to respond.
The app is part of Navalny’s “Smart Voting” campaign, who is currently serving a political prison sentence. With this, the opposition leader wanted to encourage voters to vote tactically and expel the largest party, United Russia, from its position of power. Russian President Vladimir Putin co-founded United Russia. Navalny is currently calling for a vote for the Communist Party, the second largest party in the Russian parliament.
More than 100 million Russian voters can go to the polls from Friday to Sunday. United Russia is expected to once again become the largest party in the country. Putin did everything he could to silence Kremlin critics in the run-up to the elections.
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