IT Giants Threatened with Ban on Advertising for Lack of Branches in Russia

Lawmakers are preparing a bill which will oblige large foreign IT companies to open representative offices in Russia. For the refusal to fulfill this requirement, the draft law provides economic sanctions up to the prohibition of advertising and blocking payments to the resource, according to MP Alexander Khinshtein.

Khinshtein clarified that work on the “landing” bill is being completed at the Duma Committee on Information Policy, which he leads. He is also one of the authors of the initiative, and expects that the amendments will be submitted to the State Duma “very soon.”

“Our bill will oblige the owners of large information resources with a daily audience of 500 thousand people in Russia to open official representative offices (branches), which must fully represent their interests and be responsible for their activities – including in state and judicial instances,” he wrote on his Telegram channel.

In addition to the already existing sanctions, such as restricting access to the Internet resource, the bill will introduce new measures of coercion for companies, he added. The law may also entail “informing users of the Internet resource about the violation of Russian legislation”, a ban on the distribution of advertising both on the Internet resource and on it, “a ban on making payments to Internet resource “, and “a ban on the collection and cross-border transfer of personal data.”

According to Khinshtein, the obligation of IT giants to open representative offices in Russia will make it easier for Russian supervisory authorities to work and have a dialogue with these companies, many of which “openly abuse their monopoly position, violating the requirements of our legislation,” for example, by not blocking information prohibited in Russia.

Currently, it is almost impossible to make claims against violators, he noted, adding that the Russian “daughters” of the holdings “do not bear any responsibility for the actions and policies” of their parent structures.

Khinshtein also added that the proposed measures would not infringe the interests of Russian users and would not deprive them of the opportunity to work with these resources. He also referred to international experience in landing international companies in their territories and cited Turkey as an example.