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New Russian Legislation Impacting Internet Platforms

Client Updates

This new legislation obliges non-Russian IT companies to open representative offices or create branches in Russia and to comply with a number of other requirements by January 1, 2022.

Who is affected?

The Law applies to:

(1) owners of non-Russian Internet resources, the daily audience of which exceeds 500,000 Russian users, provided that one of the following conditions is met:

  • the Internet resource provides information in Russian and/or other official languages in Russia;
  • the Internet resource contains advertisements targeted to consumers who are located in Russia;
  • the Internet resource processes the personal data of users who are located in Russia; or
  • the Internet resource receives payments from Russian individuals and/or legal entities.

(2) non-Russian hosting providers, advertising platforms and those who arrange for the dissemination of information on the Internet, providing services or targeting  Russian customers or users.

Roskomnadzor, the supervising authority, will issue a list of the non-Russian Internet resources  that are subject to the Law. It is expected that this list will affect social networks, video hosting, instant messengers, e-mail services, search engines, hosting platforms, online stores.

What are the requirements?

The owners of non-Russian Internet resources are required to:

  1. open representative offices / create branches or establish legal entities in Russia, which will serve to represent  non-Russian parent companies in Russia and communicate with the Russian authorities, including processing enquiries, implementing the rulings of courts and state authorities, representing  non-Russian parent companies in Russian courts, and blocking  restricted content on the Internet resource.

  2. provide an electronic feedback form on their Internet resource for use by Russian individuals and entities; and

  3. register accounts on the Roskomnadzor website.

What are the sanctions for non-compliance?
Non-compliance with the Law could result in sanctions, namely:

  • informing users of Internet resources about violations of the legislation of the Russian Federation;

  • bans on:
    - the distribution of advertising of and on Internet resources; 
    - making payments to Internet resources; 
    - being included in search results; and/or
    - the collection and cross-border transfer of personal data of Russian data subjects;

  • full or partial blocking of the offending Internet resource.

How can we help?

Our lawyers can advise on the legal implications for non-Russian IT companies in connection with the Law. In particular:

  • for non-Russian companies without a  corporate presence in Russia, we can assist with the process and  procedure for opening a representative office / creating a branch or establishing a legal entity in Russia and corresponding requirements of corporate law, data protection law (including in respect of localization of personal data of Russian data subjects and cross-border data transfer) and other applicable legal requirements;

  • for non-Russian companies who already have a corporate presence in Russia, we can assist with compliance strategies for the additional requirements laid down by the Law. 

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