EU state blocks access to Russian internet giant — RT Business News

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Yandex will no longer be available in Latvia, according to the country’s regulatory authorities

Latvia’s National Electronic Media Council (NEPLP) has blocked access to services provided by Russian tech giant Yandex, the council’s chairperson, Ivars Abolins, has announced.

The ban comes despite the fact that Russians constitute Latvia’s largest ethnic minority group, comprising more than a quarter of the population.

According to a post published by Abolins on X (formerly Twitter) on Thursday, the ban includes the Yandex.Music service, which allows listeners free access to Russian podcasts and songs.

Last year, Latvian authorities annulled the registration of Yandex.Taxi and blocked the service’s ride-hailing app, Yandex Go. Riga justified its decision based on the service’s alleged storing of data on servers in Russia. Yandex denied the accusations, insisting that the company stored data in Latvia in accordance with EU legislation. The tech giant challenged the decision at the Administrative District Court of Latvia, which is reportedly due to review it in February 2024.

Russia’s most popular search engine, Yandex has come under intense pressure amid Western sanctions. Since last year, the Dutch-registered entity has been seeking to divest its Russian business, which generates the lion’s share of revenue, and to spin off a number of its international startups. According to Reuters, the company aims to maintain access to Western markets despite the sanctions on Russia.

Yandex’s press service told RBK that the company has registered a unit in a special tax zone in Russia’s Kaliningrad Region, which would consolidate all its Russian assets before a sale.

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