According to Reuters, Russia fined Google roughly $365 million (21.1 billion rubles) for failing to remove YouTube content that violate local legislation. The Russian communications watchdog Roskomnadzor claims in a news release that YouTube disobeyed demands to take down “prohibited content,” which includes videos “supporting extremism and terrorism” and allegedly inaccurate information about the conflict in Ukraine.
In March, the Roskomnadzor issued a warning that it would fine Google for failing to take down “illegal” YouTube videos. The warning stated that the price would start at 8 million rubles ($94,675 USD at the time) and may increase to 20 percent of Google’s yearly income. The 21.1 billion rubles represent a significant portion of Google’s annual revenue in the nation, but it’s not obvious whether Google will really pay the penalty. Google didn’t reply right away when The Verge asked for a comment.
Google made the decision to close its Russian operations public in May, citing the seizure of its assets there and the “untenability” of continuing to operate the business. Last month, the Russian division of the search engine giant formally declared bankruptcy.
Google and Russia have previously been at odds. Russia penalized Google $100 million in December for once again failing to remove prohibited information, but things became worse after Russia invaded Ukraine. Similar to many other internet businesses, Google disconnected its Russian users from a number of services by halting ad sales, demonetizing state-owned media channels on YouTube, and blocking access to such channels.