Originally posted at The Guardian by Andrew Roth
Supporters of the jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny have accused Google and Apple of capitulating to Kremlin pressure after the two tech companies deleted his tactical voting app from their online stores.
Both companies had come under significant pressure from Russian regulators in the days before the courntry’s parliamentary elections to block access to Navalny’s Smart Voting initiative, which tries to channel opposition votes toward the strongest opponents of the ruling party, United Russia.
Google and Apple were accused of election interference by Russian officials amid a larger standoff between the Kremlin and big tech over how much control Russia’s authoritarian government can have over information disseminated inside the country. The Kremlin said on Friday it welcomed the apps’ removal.
As voting in the parliamentary elections began on Friday, the apps disappeared from both companies’ Russia stores and Ivan Zhdanov, a senior adviser to Navalny, posted a letter from Apple that appeared to confirm that company’s decision…
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