MOSCOW, June 17. /TASS/. The State Duma, the lower house of the Russian legislature, passed in the third reading a draft law binding major foreign IT companies to open branches or representative offices in Russia.
Owners of information resources with a daily audience of over 500,000 Russian users are to establish branches, open representative offices or found Russian legal entities "that should fully represent the interests of parent companies" from January 1 of next year.
The initiative also introduces a package of measures to enforce Russian laws on IT companies. They comprise communicating violations of Russian laws to users of Internet resources, bans of advertising on the information resource, payments to it, gathering and cross-border transmission of personal data of Russian nationals. An option of partial or complete blocking of the violating resources is provided as an extreme measure.
The preliminary list of Internet resources, whose owners can be obliged to open branches or representative offices in Russia, includes twenty platforms. Among them are social networks (Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter), video hosting providers (YouTube and Twitch.tv), messengers and mail services (WhatsApp, Telegram, Viber, and Gmail), search engines (Google and Bing.com), hosting providers (Amazon, Digital Ocean, Cloudflare, and GoDaddy), online commerce (Aliexpress.com, Ikea.com, and Iherb.com), as well as Wikipedia.org. The list can be revised later on.
The bill was introduced to the State Duma on May 21 and was backed by the Russian Government, the Bank of Russia and the Federal Antimonopoly Service.