Google is filing for bankruptcy in Russia

Google going bankrupt in Russia. The company has expressed its inability to pay its employees and service providers, and meet other financial obligations in Russia as the authorities have seized the company's bank account in Russia. The company had suspended all of its commercial activities in Russia after the Ukraine war started.

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Google is bankrupt! No, don’t get carried away by a single statement. Google is indeed filing for bankruptcy, but only in Russia.

Google’s Russian subsidiary has expressed its intention to declare bankruptcy following the seizure of its bank account by the authorities. This means that the search giant is no longer able to pay its employees or vendors, or meet “other financial obligations”. Hence, Google’s Russian operations are being closed down.

Google, however, stated that all the free services, including Search, Maps, and YouTube, will remain accessible in Russia, for the moment.

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According to Reuters, Russian authorities have seized Google Russia’s bank accounts. As a result, Google has expressed its inability to continue various activities, such as employing and paying employees in Russia, clearing payments to vendors and suppliers, and meeting financial obligations.

Several companies, including Google, suspended services when Russia invaded Ukraine earlier in the year to exert pressure on the Russian government. Google stopped most of its Russian commercial activities, banned all ads from Russian entities, stopped new Google Cloud registrations, and stopped payments for its services including YouTube. The company also imposed several restrictions on state-sponsored entities such as the ban of Russian media channels on YouTube.

The retaliation from Russia was expected. Roskomnadzor, the country’s telecom regulator, has been insisting on Google to suspend the ban on Russian media’s Youtube channels. Other Russian government authorities have also been asking Google-owned Alphabet to remove content they labeled illegal.

According to a TV channel, owned by a Russian billionaire, bailiffs has frozen around 1 billion rubles (approximately INR 123 crores) from Google Russia’s account in April for refusing to restore banned YouTube channels. Although Google didn’t mention whether the seized funds led to the company filing for bankruptcy, it is the first time the complete bank account has been seized.

Google was already at war with Russia before it joined other companies to express disapproval over the Russian invasion of Ukraine earlier this year. Russia fined Google $82,000 last May for failing to delete content that authorities considered illegal. In December, Google was penalized once again by Russia for not deleting content that authorities deemed illegal. This time Russian authorities slapped a fine of a whopping $98 million, which is 5.7 percent of Google Russia’s 2021 turnover.

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Google was not the only company that suspended its services in Russia. While Google News was banned by the Russian authorities, Google Search and Maps were allowed to be accessed in Russia. Google stated it will continue to offer these services as long as authorities don’t ban them.

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