back to article Russian search engine Yandex's Ukraine offices raided for 'treason'

Already under sanctions by the Ukrainian government, Russian search giant Yandex has been raided by the country's security services. The raids, in capital Kiev and the southern city Odessa, were conducted under the treason articles of the country's criminal code, according to Russian state newsagency TASS. Reuters says the …

Anonymous Coward

It appears that the Ukrainian ban on Yandex is justified in part by the fear that Yandex mapping and traffic monitoring service will be used to plan an invasion.

You really cannot make this up.

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Anonymous Coward

Isn't Google doing exactly the same thing?

Or does it just sell its services to the highest Bidder ?

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Silver badge

You really cannot make this up.

There is a lot going there which you cannot really make up.

They are declaring fascist collaborators which frog-marched Jews into the lime pits as heroes and suing the few surviving guys who (quite rightfully) hunted and terminated them after WW2 for murder. You should read some of the gems which are going into their new "authorized" school textbooks about the role of Hitler and other prominent "pro-Ukrainian politicians" in world history.

We should stop sponsoring this gang of lunatics. Compared to them Pinochet was a shining light of democratic enlightenment. Without us propping them financially they will collapse in a forthnight.

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LDS
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You should also stop promoting Putin's views here.

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Anonymous Coward

You should also stop promoting Putin's views here.

Why? Even an authoritarian bastard like Putin cannot be wrong all the time. I much prefer to listen to what Trumps, Mays, Macrons, Poroshenkos, and yes, Putins of the world have to say, look at the available evidence, and then form my own opinion.

In the case of Ukraine, that considered opinion is that this once-magnificent country, which has amazing potential, is currently busily at work destroying itself. It's GDP, which was growing healthily up to 2013 has dropped by more than a factor of two by 2015, and appears to be poised to continue dropping in the fereseeable future - hopefully not as fast as it did so far. The "free-trade" and "free-travel" pacts with the EU notwithstanding (they come with so many strings attached that their real economic impact is hegligible), Ukraine's economy is still being mostly propped up by Russia: Despite years of mutual sanctions, Russian companies are still the biggest source of foreign investment in Ukraine; the income of Ukrainian expats working in Russia is also a very significant economic input.

Whatever you say about Russian interventions in Crimea and Donbass (and a lot of it was clearly wrong and politically dumb, which is arguably worse), sanctions will not make Russians change their mind. They've clearly decided, rightly or wrongly, that this was and still remains an issue of national security.

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Gold badge

"You should also stop promoting Putin's views here."

You don't have to like Putin in order to hate neo-Nazis. It is possible for both sides to be wrong.

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Anonymous Coward

"You don't have to like Putin in order to hate neo-Nazis. It is possible for both sides to be wrong."

Also of course when it suits him, Putin seems to quite like neonazis - say, the (heavily tattooed & identifiable) neonazi sent from St Petersburg into Estonia and photographed by the Russian press as evidence of an organised (neonazi) anti-Russian movement, or perhaps the far right parties from Austria receiving 'training' on their holiday trips east before being sent back to 'help' in elections ...

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> You should also stop promoting Putin's views here.

"Things I don't want to hear or talk about = Putin's views"

It's getting pretty brownshirt fast.

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". It's GDP, which was growing healthily up to 2013 has dropped by more than a factor of two by 2015"

Presumably because it was invaded and a fairly large chunk is still occupied by Russian forces.

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Anonymous Coward

"It's GDP, which was growing healthily up to 2013 has dropped by more than a factor of two by 2015"

Presumably because it was invaded and a fairly large chunk is still occupied by Russian forces.

Not entirely. This reason applies to Crimea, which has been outright annexed by Russia. The Donbass and Luhansk rebels were initially perfectly happy to maintain economic ties to the rest of Ukraine - "all" they wanted was political autonomy, and as the most industrially-developed part of the country, they had most to lose in an economic collapse. As the result, the region continued to supply the coal, chemicals, and industrial products to the rest of the country during the entire first year of the conflict, and was getting paid for it.

These supply and trade links have been mostly shut down now - both because of the damage inflicted to the infrastructure, and because of trade blockades. The hillarious result is that the country with the largest coal reserves in Europe and well-developed indigenous coal industry now has to borrow money from IMF to import coal from South Africa (!).

The trade war with Russia (which accounted for 24% of Ukrainian exports and 30% of imports in 2013) compounded the problem.

I perfectly understand the desire by Ukrainians to punish the "aggressor country" (which appears to be the official term for Russia in Ukraine), but the measures they took ended up hurting themselves much more. Some of the punitive measures against the rebel regions (e.g. cutting off pensions and social assistance payments, as well as stopping banking and passport services) also forced the rebels to establish full parallel system of government - something they were initially unwilling to do. This in turn makes it highly unlikely these regions will return under Kiev control in the short or medium term.

This brings me back to my original thesis: If the present Kiev government was actively trying to engineer an economic collapse and disintegration of the country, it could not have done a better job.

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Anonymous Coward

I think that you're spreading misinformation. You need to remember that Ukraine's attempt at freedom during the second world war failed. As a result the winners (Russia) branded anyone who played a part in that war as a "Nazi" and right wing extremist - when in reality they were only trying to win independence. Initially, they did accept German help in their effort, but when they saw what the Nazis really were doing that "collaboration" was stopped from their ends...and before you start in with some other comment, you should consider the atrocities conducted by the Russian's against Ukraine and their people - let's not forget about 10 million people STARVED to death because Stalin wanted to destroy the peasants and collectivize the farms. At the same time millions died, Russia was dumping grain on the world market and even destroying grain by dumping it into the Black Sea rather than let starving people eat. Let's not forget the language that was "edited" by Russia to remove differences between Ukrainian and Russian. What about the people who were arrested and sent to Siberia?

There has been so much death and destruction of Ukraine and it's population by both Russian and Polish occupiers that when Germany appeared to be willing to help free them from the yoke of oppression the independence leaders obviously decided to take advantage of that...those same leaders did not take part in the atrocities that Hitler's team did - and as a result, Ukraine is quite rightfully trying to correct their history books to reflect that - and remove years of Russian propaganda...

You need to look at both sides of an argument before you start talking....

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Anonymous Coward

"Initially, they did accept German help in their effort, but when they saw what the Nazis really were doing that "collaboration" was stopped from their ends..."

That is not really that different from Finland which was invaded by Soviets and resorted to German help after the Germans started operation Barbarossa and themselves invaded Soviet Union.

The difference in outcome is that Ukraine was annexed but Finland lost few territories but remained independent otherwise.

I am out of touch with Ukrainian politics, but I am sure jingoism and nationalism are prevalent there. Just like over at the North of the border.

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You have the right of it there. We have a Crimean friend in Dublin, she was jolly glad to see the Russians, voted for them in the referendum, appalled by the takeover of Ukraine by neo nazi influence. First thing they did in Ukraine was scrap the public holiday celebrating liberation from the Nazis.

Remember, most of the rhetoric about Putin is propaganda, fake news. He has a huge approval rating in Russia, it's a democracy far more than, for instance, China. Russia is not our enemy. One must ask why some dark forces keep promoting that it is our enemy?

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why do you think Russia is the enemy?

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That 86% approval rating is a bit inconvenient, isn't it.

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Anonymous Coward

That's the absolute truth of it.

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"Putin seems to quite like neonazis...."

Oh look! A squirrel!

Regardless of Putin's many faults, the fact remains that, instead of earning money to pay off the IMF loans or honouring their part of the Minsk agreement, Ukraine has been changing the law to make it a crime to call WWII Nazis "Nazis" or in any way, bad. Normal democratic countries and even Putin's Russia don't allow Nazis/far right nuts to form private militias and run around the country armed and in uniform. It is madness.

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So Putin is going to retaliate? By blocking what Ukraine web services exactly? Or is there an upcoming election in the Ukraine he wants to "influence"?

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Coat

Well,

He could play his trump card.

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Anonymous Coward

Putin usually retaliates by shelling Ukrainian cities and spreading more lies by trolls.

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Anonymous Coward

Putin usually retaliates by shelling Ukrainian cities and spreading more lies by trolls.

Curiously enough, most (but by no means all) of the shelling of Ukrainian cities in that conflict appears to be the work of the Ukrainian government's forces, for the simple reason of target availability. It's not that Russians are morally opposed to flattening a city, all its inhabitants included; it's just that the Donbass civil war was/is fought in what effectively are suburbs of major cities on the pro-Russian rebels side, with entirely predictable consequences.

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Anonymous Coward

Or is there an upcoming election in the Ukraine he wants to "influence"?

If they're lucky Putin will stick to cyberattacks this time and Poroshenko will be spared the dioxin.

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foresight

I guess the Ukrainian government will now commission some software to replace Yandex and the others.

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Re: foresight

Why? What's so unique about Yandex and other to require the commissioning of replacement?

Yandex services are rip-offs of Google, Uber and others; VKontakte is a bastardized Facebook with pirate music and porn; Mail.ru - free web mail; etc. Good riddance.

EU must consider banning them - their destructive influence targets EU countries too.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: foresight

@iromko

So according to you what we need more of is walled gardens. But European ones though, not US ones.

Great plan :(

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The principle of reciprocity

My guess is that the reciprocal of a small poke against a big country is a big poke against a small one.

And who's going to come to the Ukrainians' rescue. NATO? Nope. Not members. The EU? Nope. Busy. The US? Well, I dunno, coz I'm not on twitter but I doubt it.

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Trollface

Oh, Ukraine still exists?

I thought it was a burnout case with barely any economy and hired oligarch muscle, Real Nazis™ and various mobster sectors vying for a piece of the cake while the ones who still can are moving out.

Nobody in the MSM seems to want to talk about all of this. Better focus on the Eurovision "contest" and its various stupid spats or on the demented screeching via NYT of members of the Neocon Senilate like McCain.

The always heated Saker had to say in March:

This all begs the question of the future of Poroshenko and here your guess is as good as mine. The only thing which kept him in power so long is the support from the USA and EU, but with the crises (plural) surrounding the Trump administration and the political uncertainty in Europe, there is only that long which Poroshenko can use his western mentors as the base for his power. Sooner or later, somebody somewhere in the Ukraine (my guess is in Odessa) will figure out that the local power configuration is far more important to him/her than what the western politicians have to say. Again, Somalia is the example to keep in mind: for a while the western powers also had a great deal of influence there, but only until that power was successfully challenged and then everybody declared victory and fled.

And just recently:

The Ukraine: apparently Trump simply does not care about the Ukraine and, frankly, I can’t blame him. Right now the situation there is so bad that no outside power can meaningfully influence the events there any more. I would argue that in this case, considering the objective circumstances, Trump did the right thing when he essentially “passed the baby” to Merkel and the EU: let them try to sort out this bloody mess as it is primarily their problem. Karma, you know.

The EU has a big Obamerkel-incubated problem barrelling down on it and it has only itself to blame.

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Anonymous Coward

Uh oh

Getting a little heated here.

Im ducking out before people start Putin their foot in it.

*coat*

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The humor is that, AFAIK, a lot of Ukrainian Yandex employees supported so called 'Maidan' events in 2013-2014.

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Do you have any proof of that?

Or just a task from your boss to support fake news, and spread rumors and innuendos?

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Do you have any evidence for the 'destructive influence' Yandex etc are having on Europe or have you been instructed to make fake news too?

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There was similar irony in attacks on and closures of Ukrainian branches of Russian banks in Ukraine: it stopped Ukrainian customers of these banks getting at their money and put a bunch of Ukrainians out of work.

How the hell Ukraine will ever pay back that $18 billion IMF loan is anyone's guess.

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Let's see what Yandex is about: https://informnapalm.org/en/hybrid-wars-yandex-s-hidden-threat-infographic/

They concentrated their efforts on Ukraine until recently, with Russia Today targeting the Europe, but after getting the boot in Ukraine they're going to bring more of it's "services" to EU.

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Incorrect use of article in this article...

"Yandex claimed 11 million users in the Ukraine"

It's Ukraine, not "The Ukraine".

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-18233844

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Incorrect use of article in this article...

Nobody cares. They really don't.

Round here it's only the UK (and to a lesser extent the US) that matter.

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Ukraine

I have actually been to Ukraine, specifically Kiev. Although I did not speaking either Russian or Ukrainian, I did talk to a few people who spoke English. The general view I got was that the Russian speaking people who lived under the Soviet Union hated Russia whereas the younger generation had a romantic view of Russia. All the Ukrainian speaking people hated Russia.

I also found out that there is an east/west divide in people. The western side speaks Ukrainian, the eastern side speaks Russian. And the Ukrainian speaking people don't like the Russian speaking people, and vice-versa. It is a lot like the Yankees and Southerners of the US, except worse. (Or British and Scottish for the U of K.) In Ukraine, there is actual disdain by the Russian/Ukrainian speaking sides.

The result of all this is a divided nation. It goes from one wanting to be closer to the EU to one wanting to be closer to Russia. And the cycle repeats. Remember the orange revolution? Ex-KGB Vladimir Putin is smart and ambitious. And jealous. The East/West European culture divide is still alive. It is alive in Ukraine too. I always think Putin is jealous because Ukraine is not fully under his sphere of influence, just half the nation is.

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Re: Ukraine

Ukraine's east/west divide can be seen in the voting maps of free elections in the 2000s. The "pro-Russian" bit more or less mirrors the parts of Russia that were placed into the Ukrainian SSR by Lenin in the 1920s.

Russian is/was widely spoken across Ukraine (even nationalists like Julia Tymoshenko routinely spoke in Russian) but there is now considerable pressure to use Ukrainian. A parliamentary deputy of the Svoboda party has recently suggested that schoolchildren who speak Russian instead of Ukrainian at school should receive corporal punishment.

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Re: Ukraine

I have also been there. It was rather depressing.

Everything you wrote matches what I discovered there, and have gleaned from discussions with my Ukrainian wife and her friends and family, although I would add an additional detail: NATO is also smart, ambitious and jealous, and eagerly wants to add Ukraine to its member states, by fair means or foul. They certainly (like Putin) have plenty of 'boots on the ground' in the form of psyop 'advisers' (i.e. spooks, agitators, saboteurs and propagandists). We have, in short, the two most sophisticated propaganda outfits in the world fighting an information war. Any truth about the conflict is therefore as rare as rocking-horse shit.

Rule of thumb: If a discussion of Ukraine is presented as clear-cut, with 'obvious' good guys and bad guys, it's propaganda, from one side or the other. Don't think for one minute that the Western mainstream media is telling the truth about Ukraine. Most of the people propagating these stories can't even name Ukraine's neighbouring states.

From my own research, FWIW, I have learned there are essentially two sets of gangsters. Those that pretend allegiance to Russia, and those that pretend allegiance to the EU. The various governments since the orange revolution have swapped between these two groups, via the ballot, or through other, less democratic means. Locking up, or exiling the outgoing leader is almost a requirement. Punch-ups in parliament are not unusual. Both sides are almost wholly corrupt.

I'd also like to point out that there is a sizeable minority that are not at all interested in the 'zero-sum-game' of being exclusively allied with the one or the other 'side', desperately want peaceful co-existence, and would prefer that both Slavic language groups should have equal status, equal rights etc. You never hear about these folks, of course. IMO, these people are the sane ones. Why are the liberal democracies of the West not supporting those guys instead?

Then there's the Tartars, that neither side cares much about. Arguably they, rather than either group of Slavs, have the strongest historical claim to Crimea. Every so often they're brought in as a political football, but both sides have shown close to zero interest in the genuine self-determination for the Tartar minority. There are other ethnic minorities too (as you should expect from the biggest country wholly in Europe), but you can grok that in your copious free time.

There is a huge, underemployed, well-educated workforce, plenty of underused agricultural land, and abandoned factories, stuffed with silent machine-tools. The resources to build the economy are there, but the prevailing neoliberal ideology (strongly encouraged by NATO and the EU) pretty much forbids state investment. Which leaves the private sector to rescue this failing nation, and well, if you actually manage to get a business off the ground, the gangsters will visit, looking for a cut of your profits. More recently (as the gangsters increasingly move into government) they have been doing this through swingeing taxes, but the adverse effect on the economy is much the same, only the menaces are different.

The latest government also pretends to be nationalists, some of them are actual fascists with ghastly 'final solution' fantasies, but instead of boosting the local economy, in practice, they now import almost everything from the EU, and have ramped down local production massively, impoverishing the country still further. This is untenable, of course, and will probably lead to another sudden and violent flip-flop to the pro-Russian side at some point. But the gangsters continue to make hay while the sun shines. It's expected. Learned helplessness in the face of open corruption is the norm.

Anyone who thinks a 'NATO-friendly' Ukrainian government is unambiguously better than a 'Russia-friendly' Ukrainian government has not studied the situation in much depth. It's a rotten state of affairs, that deserves more nuanced analysis than that.

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Astroturf

Is it just me or does it smell of astroturf in here?

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/mar/05/europe-vladimir-putin-russia-social-media-trolls

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Re: Astroturf

It's a distinct possibly that there's more than one kind of astroturf...

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Anonymous Coward

Just remind me

Serious question: Who will ultimately benefit from all the dividing and conquering that the suckers are voluntarily doing to themselves across the planet?

A divided Europe, a divided US, and numerous other countries all trying to damage themselves and others.

Is it that they just can't stop their own self destruction?

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