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Google, Apple remove Navalny app from stores as Russian elections begin By Reuters


© Reuters. In Moscow, Russia, September 16th 2021, the Smart Voting App of Alexei Navalny, a Russian opposition politician, is displayed on a smartphone. REUTERS/Shamil Zhumatov

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Alphabet (NASDAQ:)’s Google and Apple (NASDAQ:) have removed jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny’s tactical voting app from their stores, his team said on Friday, after Russia accused the U.S. tech firms of meddling in its internal affairs.

The Russian people will vote on Friday in an election to choose a new Parliament. The ruling party United Russia is likely to prevail despite the ratings slump following the largest crackdown against the Kremlin critics in many years.

Navalny, the fiercest opponent of President Vladimir Putin, was planning to take advantage of the mobile app in order to set up a campaign for tactical voter registration to strike a blow against United Russia.

Russia requested this month that Apple & Google delete the app from its stores. It claimed that if they didn’t, it would be considered meddling in their parliamentary elections.

Apple and Google didn’t immediately reply to our requests for comment.

Russia stated that it had made official approach to both chief executives.

Ivan Zhdanov was a Navalny ally, who said Friday that the removal was political censorship.

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