Many tech companies reacted to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine crisis by suspending their services or blocking access for Russian citizens. Even Russia retaliated by blocking the social media platforms Facebook and Instagram in the country.
Previously, Google and YouTube had stopped the Russian media to run advertisements and monetize from it. On the other hand, the live traffic feature on Google Maps was disabled in Ukraine in order to protect the citizens of Ukraine.
On Wednesday, Google’s Russian subsidiary announced that it is planning to declare bankruptcy after Russian authorities seized its bank accounts. Because of this, it has become hard for the company to pay the staff, suppliers, and vendors and also meet other financial obligations.
“The Russian authorities seizure of Google Russia’s bank account has made it untenable for our Russia office to function, including employing and paying Russia-based employees, paying suppliers and vendors, and meeting other financial obligations,” said a spokesperson from Google.
“People in Russia rely on our services to access quality information and we’ll continue to keep free services such as Search, YouTube, Gmail, Maps, Android and Play available.”
Google has been facing pressure in the form of fines and charges from the country for some time now. In December, Google was fined 7.2 billion roubles by Russia because it failed to delete content that the country considered to be illegal. This accounted for 8% of the company’s revenue in the country.
According to reports from a Russian TV channel, authorities also seized 1 billion roubles as it failed to reinstate access to its YouTube channel. Russia’s Federal Bailiffs Service has listed two seizures since March so it remains unclear what lead the company to file for bankruptcy.
The company confirmed that it has moved many employees out of Russia and the employees who chose to stay are no longer a part of the company. Google has also confirmed that the company will continue to access its free services. The Google spokesperson said, “People in Russia rely on our services to access quality information and we’ll continue to keep free services such as Search, YouTube, Gmail, Maps, Android and Play available.”
Alphabet, Google’s parent company had also reported that its revenue growth has slowed down to 19% in this quarter compared to 33% last year due to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine crisis.