Store rate

Google blocks paid apps from Play Store in Russia • The Register

Google began blocking paid app downloads and updates in Russia from May 5, citing compliance concerns.

Existing subscriptions will continue until the end of the billing cycle and free apps are unaffected by the policy change. Developer payments are also unaffected.

Google has suggested that Russian developers of paid apps who wish to continue providing content extend grace periods beyond the end of the Play Console billing period or defer a user’s renewal until one year with Google Play Developer API. Developers can also offer free trials or their product for free.

The new policy comes on top of an existing freeze on payments to app developers – which Google called a “pause” – on March 10, where Russia’s billing system prevented any in-app purchases from Google Play. Google cited “disruption to the payment system” as the reason for the hiatus – which makes sense given that the credit card companies had voluntarily left the country during the war in Ukraine.

Google has gone public with its efforts in the war against Ukraine, which include the involvement of its threat analysis group to identify cyber threats, limit global recommendations for some state-funded Russian media, donating $25 million to help organizations provide both immediate humanitarian relief and longer-term assistance for refugees in Poland and more.

However, the chocolate factory has stopped withdrawing its services and operations in the country in the face of growing pressure to do so. Apple, Dell, HP, Intel, SAP, Microsoft, Nokia and Ericsson have limited or completely stopped their activities in Russia.

Meanwhile, Google has cited forces beyond its control to shut down Play services in the region – compliance issues and payment system disruptions.

In Russia, the Google search engine comes second after the domestic engine Yandex. The research firm’s only data center outside of Russia has been without power for the past two weeks after a Finnish energy company terminated its contract with Yandex early and no other company seemed willing to act as a supplier.

Yandex withdrew its financial forecast last month due to political uncertainty in the country.

“In our e-commerce business, we expect consumer discretionary spending to be reduced, although we currently have limited visibility in this regard,” Yandex said in a filing updating its investors, noting that it faces a critical moment in the market.

Last October, Google revealed in its Transparency Report that Russia leads the world in the number of content removal requests it receives. ®