To Avoid Criminal Prosecution, both Apple and Google have removed President Putin's Opposition App from their respective stores
It's being reported this morning that both Apple and Google have removed jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny's tactical voting app from their stores, his team said on Friday, after Russia accused the U.S. tech firms of meddling in its internal affairs.
Russia goes to the polls on Friday to elect a new parliament in a three-day vote that the ruling United Russia party is expected to win despite a ratings slump after the biggest crackdown on the Kremlin's critics in years.
Allies of Navalny, President Vladimir Putin's fiercest domestic opponent, planned to use the mobile app to organise a tactical voting campaign to deal a blow to United Russia.
Russia demanded this month that Apple and Google remove the app from their stores, saying a refusal to do so would be treated as meddling in its parliamentary election.
Members of the upper house of parliament met Google and Apple representatives in the run-up to the election to tell them to remove the app or face serious consequences including fines and criminal prosecution.
As expected, Leonid Volkov, an ally of Navalny, accused Google and Apple of buckling under what he described as a Kremlin campaign of blackmail.
"This shameful day will live long in the memory," Volkov said on the Telegram messaging service.
Ivan Zhdanov, another Navalny ally, called the companies' action a mistake and "a shameful act of political censorship."