Fri. Sep 30th, 2022

Netflix has suspended its service in Russia, becoming the latest in a growing list of Western companies to take a stand over President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

A spokesperson for the streaming giant announced on Sunday that it was severing all ties with Russia, cutting viewers in the country off from its services.

“Given the circumstances on the ground, we have decided to suspend our service in Russia,” the spokesperson said in a statement.

The total shutdown comes just days after Netflix announced it was pausing all future projects and acquisitions in the country.

This included four original Russian shows such as the Russian language series Zato for which filming had already begun.

At the time, the company said it would continue to assess the situation in Ukraine as it unfolded.

The streaming service also took a stand against Russian propaganda channels last week, banning 20 of the free-to-air channels from its platform in the region in defiance of a new law.

Under a Russian law which was originally slated to go into effect on 1 March, Netflix would have been required to carry all 20 propaganda channels and avoid promoting “extremism” on its service.

The new law, one of many where the Kremlin is cracking down on the freedom of the media, applied to any streaming service with at least 100,000 viewers.

Last week, Netflix said it had “no plans to add these channels to our service”.

Now, the latest move sees the tech giant pull all operations from Russia altogether.

The streaming giant first launched its service in Russia in 2016 before rolling out a Russian-language service in the country around a year ago.

Netflix is one of dozens of major companies, including fellow tech giants, that have pulled out of Russia in the 10 days since Mr Putin’s forces declared war on Ukraine.

Over the last week, Apple and Microsoft both stopped selling their products in Russia, PayPal announced it was suspending its services and Samsung cut off shipments of all of its products to the country.

Tech companies have also been cracking down on the spread of Russian misinformation, with Google, TikTok, Facebook, and Microsoft all limiting access to Russia’s state-run networks such as RT News on its platforms.

Ukraine’s digital minister Mykhailo Fedorov has been calling for Western companies and countries to go even further and cut Russia off from the global internet altogether – a demand that was turned down.

Meanwhile, calls have been mounting for a boycott of major companies such as McDonald’s, Coca-Cola and PepsiCo who are yet to take a stand against Russia and continue to operate in Russia, amid the escalating crisis and mounting civilian deaths in Ukraine.

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