Moscow, Technology giant Apple reportedly started allowing Russians to download an app run by supporters of Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny after criticizing his acceding to the government’s unreasonable demands for censorship.
As The Washington Post reported last month, law enforcement had repeatedly threatened the top Apple and Google officials in Russia with arrest in September unless they take down Navalny’s “Smart Voting” app, which included more than a thousand applications from candidates for seats in the Russian legislature.
These demands came as voting was about to begin, and both companies complied. Google later reinstated the app for android phones shortly after the election, unlike Apple.
And that changed this week, according to independent researchers and Navalny chief of staff Leonid Volkov.
Apple spokespersons declined to comment on the decision. The reversal comes amid escalating tensions between Russia and outside companies, many of which have pulled out of the market or reduced their operations there since Russia invaded Ukraine, the report said.
But civil liberties groups and U.S. officials are pushing the other way, saying Apple and other tech companies provide ordinary Russians with the means to find independent news sources and connect with activists. and non-profit organizations opposed to the war in Ukraine.
Apps are a particularly critical form of communication in Russia today, as the country’s censorship apparatus has been unable to block or modify content from apps installed on users’ phones.