September 17 (WNN)—— Faced with pressure from the Russian government, both Apple and Google removed a protest app created by the well-known opposition leader Alexei Navalny from their app stores on Friday.
The Navalny app is designed to coordinate protests across Russia and weaken the political power of President Vladimir Putin during the country’s three-day parliamentary elections this weekend.
The app advises users on how to vote for opposition members of Putin’s United Russia Party in more than 200 regions.
On Friday, after Moscow threatened to sue employees of the country’s company, the app disappeared from the Google and Apple stores.
Apple and Google have complied with the Moscow court’s ruling, which stated that “extremist” applications must be removed. Earlier this summer, Russian authorities also blocked dozens of Navalny-related websites.
On Thursday, Navalny’s developers told users that its “smart voting” website and social media channels were under denial of service attacks.
Navalny has always been a strong critic of Putin and perhaps Russia’s most prominent opposition leader. Last year, he stayed in the hospital for several months after being poisoned on a flight from Siberia to Moscow. The doctor said that he was poisoning a Soviet-era nerve agent that made former spy Sergey Skripal feel sick in 2018.
Apple and Google did not immediately comment on the deletion of the app on Friday.