According to a source, Apple removed the Russia Opposition App following threats of arrest.
Under pressure from Russian authorities, Apple pulled an opposition strategic voting program from its online marketplace, including threats to imprison local Apple employees, a person aware with the company’s decision told AFP on Friday.
After a “Smart Voting” program guiding supporters on how to vote out Kremlin loyalists was removed from the firms’ app stores, followers of jailed critic Alexei Navalny accused Apple and Google of “censorship.”
At the commencement of a three-day legislative election in Russia, however, Apple staff were subjected to increasing “bullying techniques and threats of jail,” according to the source.
Requests for response from Apple and Google were not returned.
“They gave down to the Kremlin’s blackmail,” Leonid Volkov, an exiled adviser to Navalny, said on Telegram after Moscow accused US tech giants of election meddling and asked that the app be removed.
After a year marked by a sweeping crackdown on President Vladimir Putin’s critics, polls opened across the enormous country on Friday, with Russians given the option of voting online.
The State Duma election, which runs till Sunday, after a year in which Navalny was imprisoned, many of his associates were detained, and his organizations were banned.