‘Russian Google’ chief resigns over EU sanctions

The head of Russian search engine Yandex has stepped down after the EU announced “restrictive measures” against him over alleged ties to the Kremlin.

Arkady Volozh, who helped to found the Google-style tech company, resigned “with immediate effect from his positions as executive director and chief executive officer,” according to a statement released by Yandex on Friday.

That day Volozh was one of 65 individuals named in the latest raft of sanctions by the EU, which declared it was taking “restrictive measures in respect of actions undermining or threatening the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of Ukraine.”

“Yandex is [...] Russia's most popular search engine,” said the EU, adding that it was “also responsible for promoting state media and narratives in its search results, and de-ranking and removing content critical of the Kremlin, such as content related to Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine.”

Because Volozh is not a controlling stakeholder in Yandex, which is registered in the Netherlands for tax purposes, the sanctions will not affect the company, which claimed: “We do not believe that these developments will affect the company’s operations, its financial position, or its relations with partners.”

Volozh has handed over control of his 45.3% voting share in Yandex, and "informed the board [of directors] that he will not instruct the trustee how to vote those shares going forward."

“While I will continue to support the team wherever possible, this decision is in the best interests of the company and its stakeholders,” said Mr. Volozh.

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