Russian secret service make sure Putin doesn't run into the Yandex employee who vowed to spit in his face

13:04, 21 september 2017

Vladimir Putin visited Yandex’s Moscow office on Thursday, in order to congratulate the search engine giant on its 20th anniversary.

According to the newsletter The Bell, Yandex staff were asked not to dress up for the occasion, and Federal Protective Service required employees to show their passports, when coming to work, ahead of Putin’s visit.

At least one staff member, a man named Alexey Sokiro, was barred access to the office during Putin’s visit, because he is apparently on a “blacklist.” On September 16, Sokiro, an otherwise apolitical person, wrote on Facebook that he would spit in the president’s face, if he saw him in Yandex’s office.

Thirty minutes ahead of Putin’s arrival, employees were forbidden from getting up from their seats, including even trips to the bathroom.

A source told Meduza that staff were actually permitted to stay home on the day of Putin’s visit, in light of the cumbersome security restrictions.

In 2014, Vladimir Putin expressed his concern that Yandex had come under the influence of Western investors. The president also said it was irresponsible for Yandex’s news aggregation service to operate without government registration as a mass media outlet. Following these remarks, Russian lawmakers passed legislation on Internet news aggregators, and Yandex stopped indexing news outlets without government registration.