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4 Oct, 2021 13:55

Google summoned for inquiry into alleged interference in Russian elections, US tech giant will be warned to abide by local laws

Google summoned for inquiry into alleged interference in Russian elections, US tech giant will be warned to abide by local laws

A commission in Russia’s national parliament charged with looking into alleged foreign meddling in the country’s affairs has told Google executives to appear for talks on the American firm’s role in alleged election meddling.

Vasily Piskarev, the head of the committee of State Duma members investigating interference from abroad, said last week that it has approached the California-based tech company in the aftermath of parliamentary elections that were held across the country in September.

According to him, officials have “sent an appeal to the Google leadership with a proposal to discuss the facts of the company’s violation of Russian legislation and double standards in the coverage of elections.”

Also on rt.com More than 20 foreign NGOs tried to interfere in Russia’s elections & should now be banned from country, top Moscow lawmakers claim

“And what about Russia?” Piskarev asked. “What happens if you can interfere, violate and refuse to comply with the country? This question worries us and we would like to find out the position of Google’s leadership regarding their work in the Russian Federation – will they comply with our laws or not, and why do they show such double standards?”

He went on to claim in comments broadcast by the Rossiya-24 channel that “in one country, they’ll obey the laws – but in Russia they couldn’t give a damn. This is unacceptable.”

Piskarev has previously insisted that foreign organizations had tried to pressure American tech giants not to accede to requests for compliance with rules during the elections last month. “A number of foreign NGOs – more than 20 organizations in total – during the election campaign openly called on Facebook, Twitter and Google not to comply with authorities’ orders and ignore Russian legal requirements to take down banned content,” he said.

Also on rt.com Russia demands answers from US ambassador over ‘election interference,’ as Moscow says it has proof of ‘serious’ sabotage efforts

Officials were locked into a row with tech bosses over a website and app produced by allies of jailed opposition figure Alexey Navalny. Named ‘Smart Voting’, it aimed to maximize the impact of anti-Kremlin votes. In reality, however, it got little attention domestically and overwhelmingly recommended that supporters of the campaigner back Communist Party candidates. Despite that, officials insisted that the platform was an extension of Navalny’s operations, branded extremist by a court earlier this year, and therefore should be taken down.

The Russian Foreign Ministry summoned the US ambassador, John Sullivan, over the incident to present him with what they described as a dossier of evidence showing American tech firms were exerting undue influence during the campaign.

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