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Kremlin orders 13 foreign tech companies to open offices in Russia by 2022

Russia has ordered 13 tech companies, including Google, Meta, TikTok, and Apple, to be represented on Russian soil by the end of the year.

According to the new law, signed by the Russian president Vladimir Putin, foreign companies with more than 500,00 daily users will have to open an office in Russia by 1 January 2022. In case they fail to do so, companies could face penalties, for example, advertising bans.

"A foreign person operating on the Internet on the territory of the Russian Federation is obliged to create a branch, or open a representative office, or establish a Russian legal entity and ensure the functioning of a branch, or representative office, or a Russian legal entity on the territory of the Russian Federation," the statement said.

State communications regulator Roskomnadzor published a list of foreign companies that will have to comply with the new law. Meta, Alphabet's Google, Twitter, TikTok, and Telegram - companies that, according to Reuters, have been fined by Russia this year for failing to delete content it deems illegal - are on the list.

Apple, which was fined $12 million by Russia's Federal Antimonopoly Service (FAS) for allegedly abusing its dominant position in the mobile applications market, is also on the list.

Besides opening an office in Russia, named foreign entities also must do the following:

* Place an electronic feedback form for Russian users on their websites.

* Register an account on the Roskomnadzor website for interacting with authorities.

* Install one of the computer programs proposed by Roskomnadzor designed to determine the number of users of an information resource on the internet.

* Tech companies are also obliged to restrict access to information that violates Russian law.

Discord, Pinterest, Spotify, Zoom, Viber, and Twitch are also on the list.

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