Russia accuses Apple of election interference over Navalny app

Tim Cook
Tim Cook (Image credit: Apple)

What you need to know

  • Russia and Apple are at loggerheads over an app made by opposition leader Alexei Navalny.
  • The country has demanded Apple remove it from its App Store.
  • It says Apple's refusal to comply could be seen as election interference.

Russia says that Apple's refusal to remove an app from opposition leader Alexei Navalny could be considered election interference.

As noted by The Moscow Times:

Russia said Thursday that Google and Apple's refusal to remove jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny's app ahead of elections could be seen as interference in the country's domestic affairs.The country is holding parliamentary elections later this month, with nearly all vocal Kremlin critics including Navalny's allies barred from running.

In a statement Thursday Russia's media watchdog Roskomnadzor said "Criminal liability is foreseen for organizing as well as taking part in the work of extremist organizations banned in Russia", referring to the app and its contents, according to the watchdog a failure to block the app "can be considered interference" in Russia's upcoming elections and could result in hefty fines. As reported last month, Roskomnadzor demanded Apple and Google removes the app from their app marketplaces:

The department stated, "Roskomnadzor appealed with a demand for the need to remove the application "Navalny" from the application stores," following instruction from the Prosecutor General's Office of the Russian Federation which requires it to restrict access to information related to the work of the Anti-Corruption Fund. A Moscow Court ruled in June that the FBK was implementing extremist activities:

According to the report, Navalny in a message from prison encouraged supports to download the app, which "aims to help Russians to vote out candidates from the ruling United Russia party in the upcoming polls." Alexei Navalny's spokeswoman Kira Yarmysh took to Twitter calling the move to block app election interference, encouraging supporters to download the app.

Stephen Warwick
News Editor

Stephen Warwick has written about Apple for five years at iMore and previously elsewhere. He covers all of iMore's latest breaking news regarding all of Apple's products and services, both hardware and software. Stephen has interviewed industry experts in a range of fields including finance, litigation, security, and more. He also specializes in curating and reviewing audio hardware and has experience beyond journalism in sound engineering, production, and design. Before becoming a writer Stephen studied Ancient History at University and also worked at Apple for more than two years. Stephen is also a host on the iMore show, a weekly podcast recorded live that discusses the latest in breaking Apple news, as well as featuring fun trivia about all things Apple. Follow him on Twitter @stephenwarwick9