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7 Apr, 2022 14:50

Russian PM cautions about App Store and Google Play

The country needs to develop own digital distribution services, Mikhail Mishustin says
Russian PM cautions about App Store and Google Play

Russia must be ready for App Store and Google Play banning the country’s users from buying and downloading their content, Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin has said. Apple left Russia over the Ukraine conflict, while Google is facing pressure from Russia’s media watchdog over accusations of violating state legislation.

“Key stores of mobile applications App Store and Google Play may soon ban their apps from being downloaded in Russia,” Mishustin told the parliament on Thursday.

In order to be prepared for such a turn of events, the country must develop a national distribution platform for mobile applications to serve as a replacement for the foreign services, he pointed out.

Russia’s own store for Android apps is expected to be launched by summer, the PM promised.

Apple was one of the first major foreign brands to leave the Russian market in the wake of Moscow’s military operation in Ukraine. The California-based company had halted the sale of Iphones, computers and other hardware in the country, while also switching off some services, including Apple Pay.

Google remained operational in the country, but stopped monetization for Russian content-makers on its YouTube video-sharing platform and blocked a number of Russian media outlets, including RT.

On Thursday, Russia’s media regulator Roskomnadzor banned advertising of Google information resources in the country, blaming the tech giant of facilitating the spread of misinformation about the Ukrainian conflict in violation of law. YouTube has refused to remove over 12,000 videos with “fake news” about the course of Russia’s military operation in the neighboring country, according to the regulator.

Moscow attacked its neighbor in late February, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements signed in 2014, and Russia’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. The German and French brokered protocol had been designed to regularize the status of those regions within the Ukrainian state. Russia has now demanded that Ukraine officially declare itself a neutral country that will never join the US-led NATO military bloc. Kiev insists the Russian offensive was completely unprovoked and has denied claims it was planning to retake the two republics by force.