Russia Blocked Google Bank Account in Russia – Why?

  • The account was officially blocked on February 7, 2020.
  • Google has had a Russian bank account since 2005.
  • Russia has its own search engines: Yandex and Rambler.

Russia blocked the Citibank account of Google’s Russian Division. The account was officially blocked on February 7, 2020. This means that banks do not have the right to open accounts for organizations and grant the right to use new corporate electronic means of payment for transfers. The decision was made by the IFNS of Russia No. 5 in Moscow (inspection code 7705).

There are no public notices of the reason behind such a measure. Russian Tax Code provisions pertaining to the suspension of operations on an account means that the bank stops all expenditure operations on this account. It is used to enforce decisions related to collecting taxes, fees, insurance premiums, penalties and fines. Hence, more than likely, Google has been fined by the Russian Federation. Google was fined in 2019 as well. Google has had a Russian bank account since 2005.

Thus far, Google has refused to make any statements or provide an update. Google might not be welcomed in Russia in the near future. Yet Google just made an announcement that it added an additional five ethnic languages spoken in Russia on their platform. Google’s office in Russia consists of several functional divisions. In short, they can be divided into two main groups: business and development. Business divisions include sales, strategic partnerships, marketing, and finance. Another large division is their R&D centers in Moscow and St. Petersburg, which are working on localization of existing services for the Russian market, as well as developing new products for Russia and the world. For example, the St. Petersburg center made a significant contribution to the development of Google Toolbar for Firefox. The team at this R&D office is also working on Google Code Search.

Currently, Google is much more than just a US search engine; 67%  of Internet users live outside the US, and 77% of the Internet audience uses English as a non-native language. But they all use Google for search. That is why Google provides many languages in its arsenal– more than a hundred living languages as well as utility (Latin), artificial (Esperanto) ones. Google allows users to find information in any language and use linguistic technologies to understand what is being discussed.

Russia has its own search engine providers. Yandex Search is a web search engine owned by the Russian corporation Yandex. Since 2015, Yandex Search has generated 51.2% of all search traffic in Russia according to LiveInternet. Rambler is also a Russian search engine and one of the biggest Russian web portals. Rambler, launched in 2006, is owned by the Rambler Media Group and Prof-Media.

Any western corporations doing business in Russia will encounter draconian Russian political pressure. The Kremlin wants to control every business in Russia directly or indirectly. In the end, more than likely, only Russian search engines would be allowed in Russia.

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Christina Kitova

I spent most of my professional life in finance, insurance risk management litigation.

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