Navalny's ad asked Russians to take part on Sept 9 protest

Sep 10, 2018 10:45 GMT  ·  By  ·  Comment  · 

After the Russian Central Election Commission complained about a YouTube advert made by opposition leader Alexei Navalny, Google removed it from its platform according to a Reuters report.

Furthermore, Google also received requests to take down the ad from other official bodies from Russia such as the Roskomnadzor media regulation agency, the Prosecutor-General's Office, and the Federal Antimonopoly Service.

The Russian opposition's YouTube ad was designed to urge all Russians to take part in the protests planned for September 9 against the national retirement age changes proposed by the government.

Following the protests, police arrested more than 800 people in Moscow's Pushkin Square and all across Russia, with the Moscow protests taking place the same day the Russian capital was organizing mayoral elections.

In a confirmation message sent to The Guardian, a Google representative said that "we consider all justified appeals from state bodies. We also require advertisers to act in accordance with the local law and our advertising policies.”

The ad was trying to rally people to join protests against retirement age changes

This happened although Leonid Volkov, one of the senior aides in Alexei Navalny's staff, stated that the Russian government's claims that the opposition YouTube advert was breaking election laws that require at least a day of silence before elections were illegal.

The complaints from the Russian government came right before the local and regional elections scheduled to take place the day of the protests, on September 9.

His claims are confirmed by the fact that the ad wasn't including any election-connected slogans or any appeals to the public related to the Russian elections.

In a public statement Volkov said that "the corporate lawyers at Google simply don't understand that there can be situations – like the current one – and countries – like Russia – in which the demands of the authorities are often illegal."

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