The State Duma of the Russian Federation has threatened to increase penalties for Western IT companies in case they continue ignoring the orders of the Federal Service for Supervision of Communications, IT, and Mass Media (Roskomnadzor), RT reports.
It is noted that in recent weeks, Google, Facebook, and Twitter have all been fined by the Russian supervision service. However, according to the chairman of the Duma Commission for Investigation of Foreign Interference in Russia’s Internal Affairs, Vasily Piskarev, the idea to strengthen the punishment was triggered primarily by the behaviour of Google that has repeatedly refused to pay fines.
“The company’s management shamefacedly evades answering the claims brought against it, and is willing to tolerate multimillion-dollar fines, demonstrating that they have the full might of the United States behind their backs,” Piskarev said.
In particular, Google has been fined repeatedly in recent months for failing to remove content that is banned in Russia, such as calls for teenagers to attend a rally in support of jailed opposition figure Alexey Navalny. It has also been punished for refusing to locate servers with Russian users’ data within the country. Overall, the total amount of fines issued to the tech giant in Russia exceeds 32 million rubles (of which they have paid about 10 per cent).
On Monday, the Moscow office of Google was visited by bailiffs who expected to get the fines paid. Surprisingly, the company’s lawyer claimed the building was the office of OOO Google (a Russian entity) rather than Google LLC (based in California) telling the officials to go to the US office to get the fines.
In such a situation, Piskarev warned that strict amendments to the laws regarding the liability of the offending companies and managers responsible for their work in Russia could be the answer.