Apple has restored the opposition-created ‘Smart Voting’ app to its App Store despite Russia declaring it illegal — reports 9to5Mac.
The Smart Voting app was created by jailed opposition leader and anti-corruption campaigner Alexei Navalny to coordinate a strategic voting movement against Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Under pressure from the Russian government, after it passed a new law with the sole purpose of making Smart Voting illegal, Apple and Google removed the app from the App Store and Play Store, respectively, in September of last year.
Google put the app back up on the Play Store after the Russian elections, while Apple has now restored Smart Voting to the App Store. The news was shared by Navalny’s chief of staff, Leonid Volkov, and independently verified.
Apple faced criticism for giving in to the Russian government’s unreasonable demands for censorship when it took the Smart Voting app down, but the tech giant did so under the threat of harm to its executives in Russia. Similar threats were made against Google’s leadership in the country.
Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Apple last month joined the ranks of companies sanctioning the country by suspending all product sales in and exports to Russia. Cupertino also removed state-run Russian news outlets RT News and Sputnik News from App Stores outside the country.