Google and Apple removed “Navalny” app from the Russian Google Play and App Store stores. This was reported by Navalny’s team. This app, among all, contained “Smart Voting” recommendations.
FBK director Ivan Zhdanov published Apple’s response, in which the company says that the reason for blocking the application was the recognition of FBK as an extremist organization. According to Roskomnadzor and the Prosecutor General’s Office, the app contains “content banned in Russia” and “allows to interfere in elections,” the company says.
Later it became known that the Russian authorities threatened to open a criminal case against Google employees in Russia and named specific people, after which the company removed the “Navalny” application from Google Play for users from the Russian Federation, reports the New York Times, citing a source. The newspaper’s interlocutor did not disclose the names of the workers, “because of the fear of angering the Russian authorities.”
Despite attempts by the authorities to block access to “Smart Voting”, on September 15, Navalny’s team published a Google document with a list of recommended candidates.
After the publication of a Google document with a list of candidates, Roskomnadzor began to block the Red Shield VPN service, and at night Google Docs and the Telegram messenger telegra.ph began to malfunction. In parallel with this, the Smart Voting list appeared on several platforms at once, including GitHub, Wikipedia, Yandex.Disk, iCloud, Tinkoff Bank, Dropbox, SoundCloud and others.
UPD: The Telegram administration blocked the «Smart Voting» bot.
The bot stopped working on the night of September 18, shortly after midnight. When you try to start interacting with it, a warning appears that the bot “violates local laws.” At the same time, the bot does not work not only for users in Russia, but also in other countries, as well as through VPN. Not long before this, the founder of Telegram, Pavel Durov, announced that the administration of the messenger would block “bots associated with the election campaign.”