Russia says that Apple’s refusal to remove an app from opposition leader Alexei Navalny could be considered election interference.
As noted by The Moscow Times:
Russia said Thursday that Google and Apple’s refusal to remove jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny’s app ahead of elections could be seen as interference in the country’s domestic affairs.
The country is holding parliamentary elections later this month, with nearly all vocal Kremlin critics including Navalny’s allies barred from running.
In a statement Thursday Russia’s media watchdog Roskomnadzor said “Criminal liability is foreseen for organizing as well as taking part in the work of extremist organizations banned in Russia”, referring to the app and its contents, according to the watchdog a failure to block the app “can be considered interference” in Russia’s upcoming elections and could result in hefty fines. As reported last month, Roskomnadzor demanded Apple and Google removes the app from their app marketplaces:
The department stated, “Roskomnadzor appealed with a demand for the need to remove the application “Navalny” from the application stores,” following instruction from the Prosecutor General’s Office of the Russian Federation which requires it to restrict access to information related to the work of the Anti-Corruption Fund. A Moscow Court ruled in June that the FBK was implementing extremist activities:
According to the report, Navalny in a message from prison encouraged supports to download the app, which “aims to help Russians to vote out candidates from the ruling United Russia party in the upcoming polls.” Alexei Navalny’s spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh took to Twitter calling the move to block app election interference, encouraging supporters to download the app.