Jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny has accused Apple's leadership of cowardice over its decision to remove his Smart Voting app from the App Store ahead of elections last week.
Following Russia's election last week, Navalny took to social media stating "If something surprised me in the latest elections, it was not how Putin forged the results, but how obediently the almighty Big Tech turned into his accomplices."
On Twitter, Navalny stated "The giants Apple and Google have complied with the Kremlin's demands and removed our app from their stores. My beloved YouTube has deleted our video, and the Telegram messenger has blocked our bot.
He went on to say that it was "one thing when the Internet monopolists are ruled by cute freedom-loving nerds with solid life principles" but "completely different when the people in charge of them are both cowardly and greedy" before adding:
I know that most of those who work at Google, Apple, etc. are honest and good people. I urge them not to put up with the cowardice of their bosses.
Both Apple and Google removed Navalny's Smart Voting app after it was deemed illegal by Russia's government. The company was threatened with fines by the government's media watchdog, and Navalny also alluded to reports that employees at Google were threatened with arrest if they didn't comply. From last week:
Just hours before Russia's election begins this weekend, Apple told the app's developer the app would be removed following a request from Russia's Roskomnadzor because "it includes content that is illegal in Russia", which is a breach of Apple's App Store guidelines. CEO for Alexei Navalny's team Ivan Zhdanov stated:
Navalny's Smart Voting app was created to help people vote tactically against Russia's Ruling Party, United Russia.