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Microsoft, Google, Adobe Leave Russia Due to Putin’s New Laws

Tech companies Microsoft, Google, and Adobe are all giving up on their Russian operations amid a new law requested by President Vladimir Putin and which requires companies to store collected user data on local servers which would obviously become accessible to authorities.

The retreat was started by Microsoft last month, when the company decided to move its Skype development team from Moscow to Prague. Adobe, on the other hand, ceased its Russian operations entirely, explaining that it doesn’t actually need a local headquarters because everything can be performed through the power of cloud.

Now Google is doing the same thing, ITWire writes, so the Mountain View-based search giant is giving up on its Russian R&D center and relocating all engineers based in the country.

And these aren’t the only companies that might be forced to leave Russia, as both Facebook and Twitter are expected to follow the same trend, but neither has made any decision on this. As the aforementioned source notes, these two social networks would need millions of dollars every year to set up servers in Russia that would be used to store data in the country.

New laws requested by Putin himself

Tech companies’ decision to leave Russian doesn’t come as a big surprise, as President Vladimir Putin announced plans for regulations that would force them to store data on local servers earlier this year. These new laws come into effect tomorrow.

Putin accused companies such as Google and Microsoft of collecting user data and handing it to the CIA and even recommended Russians to avoid using their products because everything was monitored.

“The Internet began initially when the Internet first appeared as a special CIA project and is still being developed that way. The rest is what has made it to the market and has developed to huge proportions. Nevertheless it is initially a military program, a special program, and special services are still at the centre of things,” Putin said in April at a local television.

The Russian President also referred to the Internet as the CIA front, adding that unless companies store everything on local servers, nothing coming from the Americans can be trusted. Surprising, Putin also criticized Yandex, a Russian search engine that’s based in the Netherlands, pointing out that the headquarters outside his country is necessary “for other considerations.”

Obviously, Putin wants a more government-controlled Internet, but with so many companies leaving the country because of the new rules, there’s no doubt that those who’ll stay will have to face a really difficult time in Russia.