Google Russia is in the process of shutting down and filing for bankruptcy after Vladimir Putin’s government confiscated the chocolate factory’s bank account in the country.
“The seizure by Russian authorities of Google Russia’s bank account has rendered the operation of our office in Russia untenable, including the employment and payment of Russian-based employees, the payment of suppliers and vendors, and compliance with ‘other financial obligations,’ a Google spokesperson confirmed. The register in a statement Wednesday.
“Google Russia has issued a notice of its intention to file for bankruptcy.”
Staff working for Google Russia had the choice between changing subsidiaries or quitting their jobs. Most of the employees chose to move to Dubai, according to at the Wall Street Journal. Google began relocating workers in March, just after Russia launched a full invasion of Ukraine.
The war has worsened already strained relations between the Kremlin and the search giant. Russian courts recently fined Google for failing to remove what officials said was pro-Ukrainian propaganda and for posting allegedly false information about Russian troop losses on YouTube: In April, Google received the order to spit seven million rubles ($86,394) for not removing the aforementioned video content, and four million rubles ($50,124) for troop reports, according to Russian state media TASS.
Like other big tech companies, Google has shut down operations in the heavily sanctioned country, suspending ad operations in Russia and halting reserved advertising around the world by Russian organizations. Russian Android users can no longer purchase apps and services through the Google Play Store now that the billing system is on break.
A rather detailed notice submitted by Google to Russian officials stated that Google Russia was in the process of filing for bankruptcy because it seems inevitable given its situation and that it would not be able to pay its employees, Reuters reported.
“As of March 22, 2022, it foresees its own bankruptcy and inability to meet its monetary obligations, demands the payment of severance benefits and (or) compensation for staff working or previously working under an employment contract, and (or ) the obligation to make obligatory payments within the prescribed period,” the note reads.
Although business operations have ceased, Google said it is committed to continuing to provide free online services, such as email and web searches, to Russians.
“We previously announced that we have suspended the vast majority of our business operations in Russia,” the Google spokesperson told us. “People in Russia rely on our services to access quality information and we will continue to keep free services such as Search, YouTube, Gmail, Maps, Android and Play available.” ®