Navalny knocks Apple, Google for removing voting app

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Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny knocked Apple and Google in a series of tweets criticizing the companies for removing a voting app that promoted opposition candidates in the Russian parliamentary elections.

If something surprised me in the latest elections, it was not how Putin forged the results, but how obediently the almighty Big Tech turned into his accomplices,” Navalny said in a series of tweets on Thursday.

Google and Apple complied with the Russian government’s demand for the companies to remove a voting app connected to Navalny that promoted opposition candidates in the parliamentary elections.

Russia threatened to fine the companies and even jail local employees if they did not take down the app before the elections. 

“The media write that the Kremlin forced Big Tech to make concessions by showing them a list of their employees to be arrested. If so, then keeping silent about it is the worst crime. This is encouragement of a hostage-taking terrorist,” Navalny said. 

Even some Google employees spoke out against the move to cave to Russia’s demand to take the app down. 

Russia said the app violated Russian law and said the companies were participating in election interference if they kept it up. 

“By law and common sense, each of us has the right to campaign for voting (or not voting) for any candidate,” Navalny said.

Navalny says YouTube also deleted a video by his team and Telegram deleted a bot his team created.

The opposition leader is currently in prison for two and a half years for violating his parole by leaving the country in 2020. Navalny left the country after a poison attack against him that he says was carried out by the Kremlin, which denies the allegation.

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s United Russia party won a majority in the election in September, with some saying there was fraud riddled throughout the election. 

The Hill has reached out to Google and Apple for comment. 

Tags Alexei Navalny Apple Google Russia election Vladimir Putin

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