American tech giants Google and Apple removed the app from their stores Naval, created by the team of the jailed opposition leader, Alexéi Navalni, to scratch votes from the ruling United Russia party in the legislative elections.
“They have yielded to Kremlin blackmail“the decision of Google and Apple commented the Navalni team on its Telegram channel, after the Russian authorities threatened the two companies with multimillion-dollar sanctions for interference in the country’s elections.
The Navalni application took the user directly to the platform “Smart Vote”, devised by Navalni to try to defeat United Russia, the Kremlin party, at the polls.
The project, which had been running since 2019, recommended voting for the candidates most likely to defeat the representative of United Russia, be it liberal, communist or nationalist, in each of the districts.
The user, who did not need to identify himself, you just had to enter your district number to obtain the corresponding recommendation.
To demand the elimination of the Navalni application and its “Smart Vote”, Russia argued that the network of offices and two organizations of the opposition leader, including the FAnti-Corruption Wave, were declared “extremists” by the Russian Justice last June.
RoskomnadzorThe Russian telecommunications regulator has also accused other US companies, such as Cisco and Cloudflare, of helping to circumvent the blocking of websites banned in Russia, such as “Smart Vote.”
It has also blocked six VPN applications at the beginning of the month, used, among other purposes, for circumvent censorship In Internet.
The elimination of the Navalni application by the computer giants coincided with the first of three days of voting to elect the new Duma of the State, the lower house of the Russian Parliament.
Along with legislative elections, Russia holds regional elections in about thirty federated entities.