Google receives the largest fine ever imposed on an IT company in Russia

Russia’s war against Ukraine and the wider civilized world doesn’t stop at rockets and missiles, with Google receiving the largest “punishment” ever imposed on an IT company operating on the country’s soil.

Assuming it still has the motivation to straighten out its “record” in a country from which most Western companies have left, or are on their way out, Google would have to pay the Russian authorities no less than $373 million. The fine imposed by the Roskomnadzor authority is for distributing “false reports that discredited the Russian Army”, such as tolerating content on managed platforms that urged Russian citizens to protest against the “special military operation” initiated in February by President Vladimir Putin.

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According to authorities, Google is a “systematic violator” of Russian laws.

Interestingly, the fine came after Google’s subsidiary had already declared bankruptcy in Russia, the announced measure seeming more like a political gesture with little chance of attracting new Western funds to the budget directed at the war machine. Rather, the likely outcome is the long-term discouragement of the Android developer, who would have to pay a considerable “tax” to re-enter the Russian market.

In March, Google/Alphabet stopped offering its commercial services in Russia, such as advertising. It also tightened its restrictions on Russian-backed news accounts and relocated staff.

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However, unlike other social media sites such as Facebook, Google has not been completely banned in Russia, where many smartphones rely on the company’s technologies to function properly.

Assuming Google gets out or is completely blocked in Russia, millions of Android phones will be left with only basic functionality, with any features or services involving communication with Google servers becoming inoperable.

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