Russia threatens to block Zomm if its services are denied to government bodies

Russia warned U.S. company Zoom on Wednesday that it could be completely blocked in Russia, in response to local media reports that Zoom had restricted access to its programs by Russian government agencies and state-owned companies.

Zoom has become a leader in video conferencing applications in a context where businesses and educational institutions operate remotely using web-based solutions due to quarantine restrictions.

Russian media reported on Wednesday that Zoom had banned distributors in Russia and the Commonwealth of Independent States from selling products to government agencies and state-owned companies, fearing about new US sanctions on Moscow.

Alexander Bashkin, a member of the upper house of the Russian parliament, told the RIA Novosti news agency that Moscow may have to take steps to respond.

“Russia is not a supporter of sanctions, but if Zoom makes such a decision with regard to government institutions and state-owned enterprises, then it is possible to block this service in our country by implementing symmetrical steps,” Bashkin explained.

Russia has already blocked the web resource LinkedIn, but in March began to slow down the speed of the social network Twitter, in an attempt to force the US-based platform to delete “illegal content”.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has complained that large technology companies are competing with state structures, but the authorities have set a goal that the offer of local companies can replace Western platforms.

Russian Education Minister Sergei Kravtsov said Russian schools would not suffer as a result of the potential Zoom ban, adding that Russia’s new video conferencing system, Sferum, could replace it.

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