The president of Russia, Vladimir Putin, promulgated a law on Thursday that force foreign tech giants like Facebook, Twitter or Google to open offices representation in the country if they do not want to suffer sanctions or blockades.
The law is part of Russia’s broader policy of punishing US internet giants with fines and other restrictions for failing to delete content prohibited by Russian law or by block Russian media content.
The regulation is directed against technology companies with a daily audience or with a number of users above the 500,000 in Russia and obliges them to create subsidiaries, full representative offices or Russian legal entities in the country.
Those responsible for these offices must be able to fully represent the interests of their parent companies, so that they will have to assume responsibility if they violate russian laws and be the main avenue of interaction with Russian regulators.
Vladimir Putin, President of Russia, at the 8th Russia and Belarusian Regions Forum this Thursday. Photo DPA
They also have to open a personal account on the Roskomnadzor website, the Russian communications regulator, among other requirements.
If big tech companies decided to ignore the requirements, then they would face a series of punishment measures.
The most serious sanctions are a partial or total blocking of their activities.
The law also provides for the possibility for Russian authorities to block internet search results or limit payments from users in Russia.
It also introduces a ban on the distribution of russian ads about the sanctioned company and the company itself in Russia.
The preliminary list of companies that will have to open subsidiaries or representative offices in Russia includes 20 platforms.
Which companies does it affect
Gafam: Google, Amazon, Facebook, Apple and Microsoft. Photo: Shutterstock
Refers to social networks (Facebook, Instagram, TikTok and Twitter), video services such as YouTube and Twitch.tv, instant message applications (WhatsApp, Telegram, Viber), email services (Gmail), search engines (Google, Bing), hosting providers (Amazon, Digital Ocean, Cloudflare, GoDaddy) and online stores (Aliexpress, Ikea and Iherb) and Wikipedia.
The list can be adapted and sanctions will be applied in phases and only after repeated warnings.
In March, the Russian regulator decided slow down the publication of photos and videos on the social network Twitter for the “systematic breach” of Russian law, a measure that was only partially lifted after the company began removing prohibited content.
The prohibited content that should be removed are those referring to incitement of minors to suicide, child pornography, drug use or calls to participate in unauthorized protests, such as those that took place in support of the Russian opposition leader, Alexéi Navalni, currently in prison for an old criminal case after surviving a poisoning in August of last year.
Russian opponent Alexei Navalni, handcuffed in a police station on the outskirts of Moscow. Photo EFE
Meanwhile, Putin promised Belarus on Thursday that he will continue to help the country to overcome the political crisis and the sanctions imposed by the European Union (EU) for the systematic violation of human rights and the recent diversion of a Ryanair plane.
“We will continue to offer comprehensive help to the brother Belarusian people in the current complex internal political situation in Belarus,” he said during a telematic plenary session of the Forum of the Regions of Russia and Belarus, dedicated to scientific and technical cooperation.