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HomeTechnologyRussia fines Google $34 mln for breaching competition rules

Russia fines Google $34 mln for breaching competition rules

Russia’s competition and markets authority fined Alphabet’s Google (GOOGL.O) 2 billion roubles ($34.2 million) on Tuesday for abusing its dominant position in the market for video hosting, the regulator said in a statement. The decision is part of Moscow’s campaign against foreign tech companies while representing the country’s latest multi-million dollar fine.

To exert more control over the online space, Moscow has attacked Western tech companies domestically since beginning what it calls a “special military operation” in Ukraine, encouraging domestic players to drive out their Western rivals.

Russia has recently imposed numerous fines on Google’s Russian subsidiary. A court ordered it to pay 21.1 billion roubles ($358.7 million) last week after being accused by prosecutors of repeatedly refusing to take down material that Russia considers illegal, such as “fake news” about its invasion of Ukraine. Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) stated that the company had “abused its dominant position in the YouTube video hosting services market.”

As Russian politicians and the country’s communications regulator pressure Youtube, which previously blocked  Russian state-funded media globally in the wake of its war against Ukraine, it seems that Russia wants to stick to its own alternative to Youtube. RuTube has seen a drastic increase in its traffic since February due to heavy promotion from Gazprom Media (GAZP.MM). 

In a statement, Google told Reuters, “We will study the text of the official decision to define our next steps.” While the FAS clapped back, saying, “Google must pay the fine within two months of it entering into force.”

At the beginning of March, Google refused to sell online advertising space to Russia but continued to offer some free services. However, after Russian authorities seized Alphabet Google’s bank account, it grew impossible to pay employees and vendors, forcing it to declare bankruptcy.



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