Photo: Bogomolov.PL
Photo: Bogomolov.PL (from older protest)

As a country without free values, Russia through its media regulator asked Google on Sunday to stop sending push notifications for live-stream videos of pro-democracy anti-government protests and arrests.

“Protests erupted after several opposition candidates were controversially rejected from a ballot for an upcoming Moscow council vote. 

Tens of thousands of Russians protested in Moscow on Saturday in favor of free and fair elections and against police violence, in the fourth demonstration in as many weeks. Police have detained over 1,300 protesters taking part in the protests.

Online surveillance

Russia has tough laws requiring search engines to delete some search results, messaging services to share encryption keys with security services, and social networks to store Russian users’ personal data on servers hosted on Russian soil.

Moscow has a track record of putting regulatory pressure on Google, one of the main rivals of Russian internet search company Yandex.”, dw.com reported.

“Power in Russia’s authoritarian political system is concentrated in the hands of President Vladimir Putin.

With loyalist security forces, a subservient judiciary, a controlled media environment, and a legislature consisting of a ruling party and pliable opposition factions, the Kremlin is able to manipulate elections and suppress genuine dissent.

Rampant corruption facilitates shifting links among bureaucrats and organized crime groups.”, according to Freedom House report.

Note that Russia is a country with a record high corruption levels and a population without political rights, according to Freedom House.

It said if Google, which owns YouTube, did not act it would consider it as “interference in its sovereign affairs” and “hostile influence (over) and obstruction of democratic elections in Russia”.

“Over the past five years Russia has introduced tougher laws requiring search engines to delete results and messaging services to share encryption keys with security services.

In late 2018, Russia fined Google 500,000 roubles (€6,831) for failing to comply with a legal requirement to remove certain entries from its search results.

Earlier that year, Google removed a YouTube advert by Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny after authorities complained that the videos violated a law prohibiting campaigning ahead of a vote for regional governors.”, Euronews reported.