Following Facebook and Instagram, now Russian authorities accuse YouTube of “discrimination”. After YouTube blocked access to the official channel of the State Duma, the reaction of the officials was annoyed and loud. What will this mean for Google operations in Russia?
This move by YouTube was interpreted by Russian officials as a hostile one. The most telling was the statement by Maria Zakharova, the spokesperson of the foreign ministry, that “Google has sealed its fate”. At the same time, Vyacheslav Volodin, the speaker of the Duma, said that Google was violating the rights of Russians. Google, in its turn, explains its actions by complying with the sanctions imposed by the United States, as well as with YouTube internal rules.
Another turn the conflict has taken when Roskomnadzor, the Russian censorship agency, accused YouTube and Google in general in spreading information about the Russian invasion in Ukraine that do not coincide with the official point of view. Since it began, Russia has blocked several global media (like Facebook and Instagram), imposed restrictions on Russian mass media, marked many of them as “foreign agents”, and also arrested and put to trial its citizens protesting against this policy.
This is not the first recent conflict between Google and Russian powers that be. On April 1, a Russian conservative-Orthodox TV channel Tsargrad (named after the ancient Russian name of Constantinople, quite conceptually) claimed that Google had been fined for blocking its YouTube account. Given how closely Tsargrad TV is affiliated with the authorities, the verdict couldn’t have been different.
How do you think the story will continue? Will Russia expel Google from its jurisdiction? And if it does, who will be the loser? Let’s discuss the situation in the comments!