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Following Apple’s removal of VKontakte from the App Store, Russian regulators are saying that it will impair communications between its citizens, and are demanding answers.
VKontakte is Russia’s largest social network app. Following Apple’s removal of the app on September 28, Russian regulators at Roskomnadzor has taken issue with the action, calling it “discriminatory.”
VK, the company behind the app, posted a statement about the matter on Monday and said other apps removed included Mail.ru, VK Music, and Youla classified. The statement says the apps will continue working on compatible devices and have only been removed from the App Store.
Still, users may experience problems with features such as notifications and payments.
After the removal, Apple said that it is complying with sanctions, imposed over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Developers owned or controlled by these sanctioned parties were outside of Russia, and had their developer accounts terminated by Apple because they were apparently skirting the international sanctions.
Apple customers in all locations are affected by the decision, not just those in Russia.
As a report from Reuters pointed out on Wednesday, Roskomnadzor is the chief regulatory body in Russia that interfaces with US tech giants. It forced Apple to remove an opposition leader’s app from the App Store, only restored after the war in Ukraine broke out.
In 2015, it also forced Apple to host iCloud data generated within Russia, in the country. Roskomnadzor has also caused problems for Telegram, Microsoft, Google, and others.
In February, Apple opened its first corporate office in Russia, and in March stopped all online sales in the country after its government’s invasion of Ukraine. Sales have not yet resumed.