Google faces a near complete shutdown in Russia this week after authorities in the country seized the bank account of its Russian subsidiary. Although the company keeps free services such as search and YouTube available in the country, Google reported that its Russian subsidiary would file for bankruptcy due to an inability to keep its office open and pay its employees.
Google’s Russian subsidiary’s decision to file for bankruptcy was recently announced by the company, as reported Reuters. Reports say the filing comes as Google has come under pressure in the country for refusing to remove content Moscow deemed illegal, as well as banning a Russian government-backed YouTube channel. The latter saw Russian authorities seize around 1 billion rubles (around $12 million) in fines from Google, but no action to shut down Google outright was taken at the time. That said, authorities recently seized access to the Russian branch’s bank account, making further operations impossible.
A Google spokesperson shared an official statement on Wednesday about the situation at its offices in Russia.
“The seizure by Russian authorities of Google Russia’s bank account has rendered the operation of our office in Russia untenable, including the employment and payment of Russian-based employees, the payment of suppliers and vendors, and compliance with ‘other financial obligations,’ Google said in its statement. “Google Russia has issued a notice of its intention to file for bankruptcy.”
Russia has faced a number of business closures in the country as it pursues a highly contentious war against Ukraine. The big three game companies, Microsoft (Xbox), Sony (PlayStation) and Nintendo have all suspended sales in the country, to name a few.
Nonetheless, it looks like Google is on the losing side in this particular action. With no immediate end to the conflict in sight, it remains to be seen whether Google will resume normal operations within the country in the near future.