It has come to light that Google will shut its engineering office in Russia as internet restrictions in the Putin led nation tighten around internet freedoms.

“We are deeply committed to our Russian users and customers and we have a dedicated team in Russia working to support them,” a Google spokesman told PCMag in an email.

The Wall Street Journal however reports, that certain Google employees will stay back monitor sales, business partnerships, user support, marketing, and communications.

The specifics of the entire situation remain murky in the wake of a number of laws and legislations that choke the online freedom. A new law that takes effect early next year will require citizen data to be stored in data centers within the country instead of offshore facilities in other countries. Internet firms that violate the law could face penalties, the WSJ reports.

Anton Nossik, a web entrepreneur, and touted as the father of the Russian internet commented, “The changes in the political situation make it less viable, less feasible to maintain engineers here, and that is not even counterbalanced by the fact that engineers get cheaper by the day because of the [falling value of the] rouble.”

“There are a lot of counter productive measures, not only [government] pressure but also the general unpredictability of how the situation will develop. One thing that is predictable is that it will develop for the worse. The only thing we don’t know is how fast regulations limiting foreign activities on the Russian market will be adopted,” he added, the Guardian reports.

The Information originally reported of Google’s move citing knowledgeable sources, and brought forth the closure of other enterprises for similar reasons. Following the search of  Russian e-commerce outfit Lamoda, last week by law enforcement authorities for unknown reasons, American venture and private equity firms, like General Catalyst, Accel Partners and Tiger Global Management, have divested some of their Russian investments, signaling a broad retreat, the publication reported.

Read more here.


(Image credit: Google Moscow by Alexander Minza)

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