Russia demands major tech companies open regional Russian office

Russia has passed a law requiring major internet companies to be officially represented in Russia. A list has now been published with names of the companies that fall under this. These are often large, well-known American tech companies.

Google, Apple, Meta, Twitter, TikTok, Telegram, Zoom, Likeme, Viber Media, Discord, Pinterest, Spotify and Twitch are on the list of Roskomnadzor, the Russian telecom watchdog. This list, of ‘foreign legal entities operating on the Internet in the territory of the Russian Federation’, was drawn up on Monday. This list also states that enforcement measures can be taken if the companies do not meet three requirements.

First, the companies must make an electronic form available on their websites so that Russian users can provide feedback. Secondly, the companies must have an official representation in Russia, which can be done, for example, through a representative office or the setting up of a Russian legal entity. Third, an account must be opened on the official Roskomnadzor website in order to contact the Russian authorities. For each company, records are kept of whether these three requirements have been met. Furthermore, the foreign companies must restrict access to information that violates Russian law.

These requirements stem from a law passed on July 1. It prescribes that a foreign internet company with a daily audience of more than 500,000 users must open its own authorized representative office in Russia. Specifically, that requirement to have a representation in Russia will take effect from January 1, 2022.