(PresidentialWire.com)- Earlier this month, the Russian-installed governments in the occupied territories of Donetsk and Luhansk in Ukraine’s Donbas region banned Google and its video platform YouTube, accusing the company of inciting terrorism.
Russia’s puppet Denis Pushilin, the leader of the Donetsk “People’s Republic” accused Google of spreading “misinformation and lies” and “pitting the world against Russians.” Pushilin speculated that Washington might be secretly behind Google’s “anti-Donetsk agenda.”
Likewise, Luhansk People’s Republic leader Leonid Pasichnik posted a statement on Telegram announcing the move, saying “We’ll be just fine” without Google.
The Russian-installed government of Kherson followed suit several days later.
Russia already has an alternative to Google called Yandex. The Yandex search engine, which has been used by hundreds of millions of Russian-speaking people for years, is functionally identical to Google.
Like Google, Yandex is known for putting its thumb on the scale in search results. It amplifies Kremlin-approved content, usually Russian state-sponsored media outlets. Yandex has also been minimizing content considered favorable to Kyiv while pushing the pro-Russian narrative on the war in Ukraine.
A recent analysis from the Alliance for Securing Democrats found that in the last two weeks of May nearly 40 percent of the search results in Yandex’s “News” tab came from Russian state-sponsored outlets. According to the report, except for three articles from the Russian-language version of Forbes, Yandex featured no articles from international news outlets.
In May, the Russian-controlled Donetsk, Luhansk, and Kherson banned Facebook, Instagram, and several messaging apps.
Two weeks ago, Russia fined Google nearly $365 million for promoting “extremism and terrorism” on YouTube. Russian officials said YouTube was promoting false information about the war in Ukraine.
Back in May, Google’s Russian office filed for bankruptcy saying it was no longer tenable to continue operations in Russia.