Russian lawmakers on Tuesday approved a bill providing for stricter penalties for foreign internet companies that fail to open an office in Russia, including fines.
Moscow has long sought to exert greater control over technology firms, and disputes over content and data have intensified since it sent armed forces into Ukraine on Feb. 24.
Foreign social media giants with more than 500,000 daily users have been obliged since July 1, 2021, to open offices in Russia or risk penalties ranging up to outright bans.
Now, the turnover fines that Russia has imposed on the likes of Google and Meta for hosting banned content could be applied to companies that fail to open offices, after the lower house passed the bill in the second of three readings.
Fines could be as high as 10% of a company’s turnover in Russia from the previous year, rising to up to 20% for repeat violations.
The state communications regulator Roskomnadzor last November listed 13 mostly US companies required to set up on Russian soil by the end of the year.
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