Russian separatists have announced they will block Google in certain occupied territories in Ukraine. The search engine would fuel “terrorism and violence against all Russians”.
The Luhansk People’s Republic and Donetsk People’s Republic, proclaimed by separatists, will soon no longer have access to Google, they say. according to Reuters. In a post on Telegram, Denis Pushilin, the leader of the self-proclaimed DPR, says that Google is fueling violence against Russians in the Donbas at the behest of the US government. The Guardian cites“This is what happens in every society with criminals: they are isolated from others. If Google stops pursuing criminal policies and adheres to mainstream law, morality and common sense, there is no need for a block.”
There has been disagreement in eastern Ukraine for years; the two self-proclaimed pro-Russian republics were established in April of 2014 and have so far only been recognized by Russia, North Korea and Syria. The Ukrainian government has labeled the ‘republics’ in question as terrorist organisations.
The relationship between Russia and Google has been complicated since the invasion of Ukraine. Google News, among others, was blocked by Russia and a Russian Google Play Store was released, although a general blockade of the search engine in Russia itself has not yet been forthcoming. The local branch of Google had to file for bankruptcy in May because of the seizure of the company’s bank account.
Image of the Google doodle ‘Russia Day’ via google
Update, Saturday: Many readers took offense at the description of the affected areas as ‘pro-Russian’, this has been edited in the title to better reflect the nuance of the situation.