Google has been fined Russia roughly $370 million (21.1 billion rubles) by the Russian government over what the Russians say are YouTube videos that violate Russian law. But the Ruble is not really worth anywhere near what Russia has set as its official exchange rate so the fine is really only about half that much
The Russian communications regulator Roskomnadzor said in a press release that the Google owned YouTube did not follow government orders to remove what it called “prohibited content.” This content included videos with content that the Russian authorities claimed “promoted extremism and terrorism.”
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YouTube was also accused of allowing the proliferation of content on the now five month long Russian invasion of Ukraine that Russia claims were defamatory because it included the truth about their atrocities committed in Ukraine.
The world has roundly condemned the Russian invasion as illegal and both the US and EU have imposed sanctions on Russia and wealthy Russian oligarchs in response.
It is also not very likely that the fine will ever be collected since Google no longer operates in Russia and no American or European court will be likely to rule that the company must pay the fine.
This is not the first such run in that Google has had with Russian authorities.
In May, Alphabet’s Google Russia subsidiary announced that it was shutting down. The reason has to do with the fact that the Russian government confiscated the business’ bank accounts. It did so over unpaid fines.
According to the official Russian news agency, Google was ordered by a court to pay a 7.2 billion Ruble fine ($220 million at the current official exchange rate which, however, is artificially propped up by the Russian government). And with the country suffering from massive inflation right now those Rubles won’t go very far at any exchange rate anyway.