As a retaliation to the Russian President’s invasion, western powers, including the US, UK, and EU slapped Moscow with a range of sanctions targeting broad swathes of the Russian economy. The sanctions hit Russia hard, with the ruble’s value falling to record lows and a large number of western countries ending their business in the country. And now, another huge firm, dubbed the “Google of Russia” has decided to leave.
Danil Bochkov, a Russia and Europe expert, tweeted: “Wow, what a turn… IT behemoth Yandex suspends investments in Russia.
“This was announced in the annual report of the parent company registered in the Netherlands.
“The suspension of investments is related to ‘geopolitical tensions’ and the consequences of sanctions.”
Yandex, which mainly operated in Russia, provided a broad range of 70 internet services, including a search engine, music streaming platform, advertising, English translation online, and even a personal assistant to rival Apple’s Siri.
In a filing to update investors, Yandex said: “Current geopolitical tensions, their impact on the Russian and global economy, and the related stresses in the broader social and business environment, have created exceptional challenges for our business.”
While none of Yandex’s group companies or directors were specifically targeted, it said: “Nevertheless, we are indirectly impacted by the designation of numerous parties in Russia and the restrictions that this places on international businesses in Russia.”
Along with Western firms leaving the country, Putin is also facing a crisis of brain drain from Russia, with a reported mass exodus of 300,000 mainly younger Russians.
Many of these young Russians are tech industry professionals, who fled to countries like Armenia, Georgia, and Turkey to avoid the impacts of the sanctions.
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“These paths were enough for Russian tech to survive. But right now, nobody knows.”
Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, three members of Yandex’s board, including deputy CEO Tigran Khudaverdyan, had resigned.
The former board members protested against Putin’s influence on the company, given Yandex’s primary consumers are in Russia.
Yandex’s former news director, Lev Gershenzon, also slammed the company for censorship and publicly encouraged his former colleagues to ditch the firm.
The company may soon be facing acute labour shortages, with one engineer telling Insider that a projected 20 to 30 percent of the 10000 technology professionals are aiming to leave.