Google is officially leaving Russia

Google is officially done with Russia, after the government seized its local bank accounts and made it impossible to continue operations there.

“The seizure by Russian authorities of Google Russia’s bank account has rendered the operation of our office in Russia untenable, including the employment and payment of Russian-based employees, the payment of suppliers and vendors, and compliance with ‘other financial obligations,’ Google said in a statement. the wall street journal.

Most Google employees in Russia have already left the country, following its invasion of Ukraine, and will continue to work elsewhere. Sources told the WSJ that many will work from Dubai, where Google has a large office.

A Russian court froze Google’s bank account in March, prompting the company to start planning for an official — and final — exit. A court bailiff transferred the funds from the bank account, meaning Google can no longer pay staff and suppliers. It is unclear exactly how much was seized.

The Google subsidiary will eventually declare bankruptcy in Russia, according to a regulatory filing, because it can no longer make payments.

In March, Google stopped selling ads in Russia on Search, YouTube and outside partner websites, following similar announcements from Twitter and Snap. US sanctions have made doing business in Russia impossible for Western companies.

A virtual minefield

Even as its commercial activities come to an end, Google announces that it plans to continue offering its free services – such as YouTube, Search, Maps and Gmail – to Russian Internet users.

YouTube in particular has come under intense pressure from the Russian government, which has called for certain content on the service to be banned. Russia has yet to completely block YouTube, which is popular in the country.

Russia’s move to invade Ukraine has made the country a pariah in the West, as oligarchs, politicians and civil servants face extensive sanctions from the US and EU.

Western companies, such as Meta and Apple, have been impacted by the war and have chosen to no longer offer their products and services in Russia.

Google has so far been fined 11 million rubles, or about $170,000, for allegedly delivering inaccurate information via YouTube.

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