Federation Council approves bill on foreign IT-giants activities in Russia

Google has reportedly suspended business with Huawei that requires the transfer of hardware and software products except those covered by open source licenses. Photo: EPA-EFE. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

MOSCOW, Jun 24, 2021, TASS. The Federation Council, the upper house of the Russian parliament, approved a law obliging large foreign IT companies to open branches or representative offices in Russia, TASS reported.

On Wednesday, at a plenary session, 143 senators voted for the adoption of the law, one abstained, and no one voted against.

The new law stipulates that owners of information resources, whose daily audience includes more than 500,000 of Russian users, should create branches, open representative offices or establish Russian legal entities from January 1, 2022, “which must fully represent the interests of the parent companies,” the document says.

The initiative also introduces a set of measures to force IT companies to comply with Russian legislation. Such measures include a ban on the distribution of advertising on an information resource, on making payments to it, a ban on search results, as well as informing users of Internet resources about violations of the legislation of the Russian Federation. As a last resort, the possibility of partial or complete blocking of the offending resource is provided.

The preliminary list of Internet resources, the owners of which may be obliged to open branches or representative offices in Russia, includes 20 platforms. It includes social networks (Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, Twitter), video hosting (YouTube, Twitch.tv), instant messengers (WhatsApp, Telegram, Viber), mail service (Gmail), search engines (Google, Bing.com), hosting providers (Amazon, Digital Ocean, Cloudflare, GoDaddy), online stores (Aliexpress.com, Ikea.com, Iherb.com), and Wikipedia.org. At the same time, this list can be adjusted.

The bill was submitted to the State Duma, the lower house of parliament, on May 21 by a group of members of the Duma Committee on Information Policy and Senator Alexei Pushkov. The document received the support of the Russian government, the Bank of Russia and the Federal Antimonopoly Service.

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