The Russians plan to launch an alternative to the Google Play Store on Victory Day

Russian technology developers are developing an alternative to the Google Play Store in Alphabet and are planning to launch it on May 9, a national holiday in Russia that celebrates victory in World War II, the company behind the initiative said Tuesday.

YouTube and Google Play have suspended all payment-based services in Russia this month, including subscriptions, as Western sanctions on Russia’s activities in Ukraine begin to create banking challenges in the country.

“Unfortunately, Russians can no longer use Google Play to buy apps in general, and developers have lost their source of income,” said Vladimir Zykov, project director of the digital platform, an organization focused on digital development.

“That’s why we created Nashstore, a Russian app store,” Zykov said in a statement.

Nashstore, which translates as “Hourstore” in English, will serve Android mobile devices and should ultimately be compatible with Russian Mir Bank cards, the statement said.

On the anniversary of the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany in World War II, Russia traditionally staged a patriotic display of raw military power, including a parade through Moscow’s Red Square on May 9.

Earlier this month, Google said it had blocked mobile apps linked to RT and Sputnik from its Play Store, in line with previous moves to remove Russian state publishers from its news-related features. Last week, Russia’s communications regulator blocked the country’s news aggregator service Google News, accusing it of allowing access to counterfeit material about the country’s military operations in Ukraine, according to news agency Interfax.

Several technology companies have limited distribution and advertising equipment in Russian news outlets last month because the European Commission banned them for spreading misinformation about the war in Ukraine.

Thomson Reuters 2022

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