Google (GOOGL.O) was fined 15 million roubles ($260,000) by a Moscow court on Thursday for persistently failing to comply with a Russian rule mandating internet companies to localize customer data.
In recent years, Russia has levied a number of fines to Western technology companies for a variety of violations, in what opponents believe is an attempt by Moscow to assert greater control over the internet.
Russia has blocked access to Twitter’s (TWTR.N) and Meta Platforms Inc’s (META.O) biggest social networks, Facebook and Instagram, although Google and its YouTube video hosting service remain accessible for the time being. Moscow takes issue with YouTube’s treatment of Russian media, which the company has restricted.
However, Anton Gorelkin, deputy chairman of the State Duma’s information policy committee, said the American firm was not currently in danger of facing the same fate. “Blocking is an extreme step, and YouTube and Google have not passed this line of rationality,” Gorelkin told reporters at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum. “However, they are participants in the information war against Russia.”