Russian lawmakers to consider bill on making foreign IT companies open local offices

A draft law has been submitted to the Russian State Duma that will oblige foreign IT companies to open full-fledged representative offices in Russia, lawmaker Alexander Khinshtein told Interfax on May 21.

According to the initiative, foreign companies with an annual client base of at least 500,000 Russian users will have to open branches in Russia. These representative offices will be held liable for any violations of Russian legislation by these IT giants.

The draft law also obliges foreign tech companies to register a personal account on the Roskomnadzor (federal censorship agency) website and interact with Russian government agencies through this account. Companies will also be required to add “an electronic contact form for Russian citizens” to their websites.

The same requirements will apply to hosting providers, advertising systems operators, and online information distributors, Interfax writes.

Foreign companies that refuse to establish a corresponding legal entity in Russia will face penalties ranging from search engine ban, to restrictions on accepting payments from Russian citizens, to being completely blocked in Russia.

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