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Russia’s federal censor orders Apple and Google to take down Navalny’s app

Source: Mediazona

Russia’s federal censorship agency, Roskomnadzor, has sent a letter to Apple demanding that the tech giant delete Alexey Navalny’s mobile app, Mediazona reported on Thursday, August 19.

Update. On August 20, Roskomnadzor’s press service confirmed to the state news agency TASS that the censorship agency demanded that both Apple and Google remove Navalny’s app from the App Store and Google Play, respectively. Roskomnadzor’s spokespeople said that the request to delete the app was sent in accordance with the Russian Attorney General’s Office’s requirements “on the need to restrict access to information resources linked to the organization of the Anti-Corruption Foundation’s work.”

According to the opposition politician’s website, the letter informs Apple that both the Anti-Corruption Foundation (FBK) and “Team Navalny” are considered “extremist organizations” in Russia, and claims that the app is used “to promote and implement” the activities of these “extremist” groups. 

This request from Roskomnadzor comes on the eve of the anniversary of Alexey Navalny’s near fatal poisoning.

In July, Roskomnadzor ordered YouTube to block Navalny’s popular channel “Navalny LIVE,” as well as channels belonging to his close associates. The censorship agency also blocked Navalny’s website and more than 40 other sites linked to the FBK, alleging that these websites “are used for the promotion and continuation of prohibited extremist activities.”

Alexey Navalny was on a flight from Tomsk to Moscow when he fell violently ill on August 20, 2020. The plane made an emergency landing in Omsk, where he was hospitalized in a coma; two days later he was transferred to Germany for treatment. German officials later confirmed that Navalny was poisoned with a Novichok-type nerve agent.

Navalny was discharged from the hospital on September 23, 2020. Russia denies any involvement in the poisoning, though Navalny says he holds Vladimir Putin directly responsible for the nerve-agent attack.

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