Now Russia accuses US of election meddling: Kremlin summons ambassador amid fury at American tech giants’ refusal to censor anti-Putin content

  • Russian officials claim that U.S. based tech companies violated Russian laws in connection with the September 17-19 elections to the lower house State Duma 
  • Deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov expressed the ‘categorical inadmissibility of interference in the domestic affairs of our country,’ 
  • Russian media regulator Roskomnadzor warned Google and Apple to remove jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny’s ‘Smart Voting’ app from their app stores  
  • Moscow has ramped up control of the internet and is taking legal action against foreign tech companies for not deleting content banned by authorities 
  • U.S.-based internet companies have faced a series of fines for not storing the data of Russian users on domestic servers
  • The United States has also held Russia responsible for meddling in its elections and for large-scale cyberattacks










Russia’s foreign ministry summoned U.S. ambassador John Sullivan and presented him ‘irrefutable proof’ that US tech companies are interfering with upcoming local elections. 

Russian officials claim that U.S. based tech companies violated Russian laws in connection with the September 17-19 elections to the lower house State Duma. 

They are outraged at the social media firms – including Facebook and Twitter – over their refusal to censor posts in accordance with draconian Russian laws.

Vladimir Putin’s regime has also been angered by the failure of tech companies to store data from local users on domestic servers, which could potentially give them easier access to the personal details of anti-Putin dissenters.  

In his meeting with ambassador Sullivan, deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov expressed the ‘categorical inadmissibility of interference in the domestic affairs of our country,’ AFP reported.  

Deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov expressed the 'categorical inadmissibility of interference in the domestic affairs of our country,' to US ambassador John Sullivan (pictured)

Deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov expressed the ‘categorical inadmissibility of interference in the domestic affairs of our country,’ to US ambassador John Sullivan (pictured)

President Vladimir Putin (pictured) that month complained about the growing influence of large technology companies, which he said were competing with states

 President Vladimir Putin (pictured) that month complained about the growing influence of large technology companies, which he said were competing with states

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jalina Porter did not address Russian officials complaints about U.S. tech companies during the meeting but said it covered a ‘range of bilateral matters’ in support of US President Joe Biden’s ‘desire for a stable and predictable relationship with Russia.’   

Although no specifics of interference have been provided, Russian media regulator Roskomnadzor warned Google and Apple to remove jailed Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny’s ‘Smart Voting’ app from their app stores, which could help locals vote tactically to oust or weaken Putin’s regime. 

Roskomnadzor said their refusal to do so could be seen as election interference, Aljazeera.com reported. 

The ‘Smart Voting’ app has called for minors to join rallies, a tactic that has led Putin’s increasingly unpopular United Russia party, currently polling at less than 30 percent, to lose a number of seats in recent local elections. 

Roskomnadzor said Monday it blocked a website credited to Navalny which instructed Russians how to vote out politicians of the ruling United Russia party.

Moscow has ramped up control of the internet and is taking legal action against foreign tech companies for not deleting content banned by authorities.

Nearly all vocal Kremlin critics, including Alexei Navalny's (pictured) allies, are barred from contesting this month's parliamentary polls

Nearly all vocal Kremlin critics, including Alexei Navalny’s (pictured) allies, are barred from contesting this month’s parliamentary polls

Moscow has ramped up control of the internet and is taking legal action against foreign tech companies for not deleting content banned by authorities

Moscow has ramped up control of the internet and is taking legal action against foreign tech companies for not deleting content banned by authorities

It has led to U.S.-based internet companies including Facebook, Twitter and Google, to face a series of fines for failing to delete content requested by Russia’s media watchdog and for not storing the data of Russian users on domestic servers.  

Nearly all vocal Kremlin critics, including Navalny’s allies, are barred from contesting this month’s parliamentary polls.

Russia’s claims of U.S. interference is ironic considering recent history between the two nations. 

The United States has held Russia responsible for meddling in its elections and for large-scale cyberattacks.

In 2020 a Senate Intel committee report concluded that Russia launched an aggressive effort to interfere in the 2016 presidential election on behalf of Trump, and associates of the Republican candidate who were in regular touch with Russians throughout the campaign were eager to benefit from the help. 

This summer, Russian-based hackers launched a cyberattack on at least 200 information technology management firms in the U.S. and demanded up to $5 million in ransom.

The REvil gang, a major Russian-speaking ransomware syndicate was determined to be behind the attack despite President Joe Biden’s earlier threats of ‘retaliation’ to Russian President Vladimir Putin if the hacks continued. 

Advertisement

By admin