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Russian media watchdog ready to block Google if fines prove ineffective

Blocking will be the toughest measure

MOSCOW, December 12. /TASS/. Russian laws can be changed to impose tougher sanctions on foreign internet companies reluctant to abide by the country’s legislation, deputy head of the Russian media watchdog Vadim Subbotin told TASS.

"In case fines fail to make a foreign company change its ways, there is a chance that the legislation will be changed, which will make it possible to block access to Google in Russia," he pointed out.

According to Subbotin, such a measure is not possible under the current legislation. "Blocking will be the toughest measure," he noted.

Subbotin pointed out that at first, the minimum fine of 500,000 rubles ($7,500) was imposed on Google, while the next will be 750,000 rubles ($11,200).

The Russian media watchdog earlier fined Google for its non-compliance with the Russian legislation. The watchdog said that under Russian laws, search engine operators were obliged to remove links to websites containing banned information from search results. In order to do that, they must join the federal state information system where a list of such websites is available. These requirements had been explained to Google more than once, officials said.

The media watchdog also noted that if the company failed to start abiding by the legislation, a second administrative case would be launched. Companies failing to comply with the law violate Article 13.40 of the Russian Administrative Code and may face fines of 500,000 to 700,000 rubles.