The US Apple App Store offers Russian Yandex in 45 separate apps

  • Apple cut ties with Russia over its invasion of Ukraine.
  • The iPhone App Store still hosts dozens of apps from Yandex, the country’s largest Internet company.
  • A senior Yandex executive was recently sanctioned by the European Union for his close ties to Vladimir Putin.

Apple has stopped selling iPhones in Russia and restricted their use


Apple Pay

Service in the country as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. But Apple’s moves to cut ties with Russia do not appear to extend to its app store, as Yandex, Russia’s largest internet company, continues to offer dozens of apps to Apple users around the world.

There are currently 45 iPhone apps for Yandex on the Apple App Store in the United States, as well as additional apps for the Apple Watch and iMessage, according to a review by Insider Monday. Applications range from Yandex search engine to Yandex web browser and messaging app.

Yandex faced accusations of censorship and close ties with the Russian state. Since the invasion of Ukraine, several US companies have cut ties with Yandex, including food delivery service GrubHub, which this month announced it was ending a partnership using driverless robots to deliver food on US college campuses. Web browser manufacturer Mozilla removed Yandex as its default search provider last week, citing the “proliferation of state-sponsored content.”

An Apple spokesperson did not respond to a query whether it would take action against Yandex.

Yandex spokeswoman Polina Pestova, reached for comment, said, “The company operates in full compliance with local and international laws. We have a very rigorous process in place to determine the legality of any government request. We only consider requests made by an authorized entity in compliance with laws and due process and provide the amount of information Required only in order to fulfill the request. Any requests that do not comply with all relevant procedural and legal requirements are rejected. Also, like any search engine, Yandex Search is obligated by law to automatically exclude any illegal resources from search results.”

The former head of the news department of Yandex, Lev Gershenzon, accused the company of censoring news of the invasion, telling Protocol in an interview that “tens of millions of Russian citizens do not know that the war is going on … and why? The media sphere is strictly censored, and Yandex.ru is , if I am not mistaken, the most popular media portal with the largest audience in Russia. ”

On Tuesday, Yandex Executive Vice President and CEO Tigran Oganesovich resigned after being added to the list of people sanctioned by the European Union over his close relationship with Vladimir Putin. Some MEPs are pressing the European Commission to impose direct sanctions on the company, according to Euractiv. “Yandex may be transmitting its users’ data to Russia’s special services, and it is now certain that Yandex is linked to the Russian state,” Alexander Herasiminka, director of research at the Oxford Internet Institute, said in an email.

“We are shocked and surprised to learn that Tigran has been designated under EU sanctions, and we deeply regret seeing him step down as CEO and Executive Vice President,” Yandex said in a statement about Oganisovich’s resignation.

Yandex is Russia’s largest tech company, with a Google-style suite of products from a search engine to messaging apps, web browser, and ride-hailing services. A spokesperson for Yandex Pestova said: “Our apps are constantly monitored and evaluated by Apple and Google for compliance with the strict App Store and Play Store moderation policies, which prohibit any unlawful collection or transmission of data.

On March 1, Apple halted all sales of its devices in Russia, and limited use of Apple Pay, its payments service — causing chaos in the Moscow subway system that relies on payments.

“We are deeply concerned about the Russian invasion of Ukraine and stand with all people suffering as a result of the violence,” Apple said at the time.