The invasion of Ukraine almost wiped out Russia’s largest technology company

The invasion of Ukraine almost wiped out Russia's largest technology company

Yandex NV is reportedly planning to sell most of its Russian business. The company owns the most popular search engine in Russia and dominates the passenger transport market.

According to Bloomberg, Yandex NV plans to sell most of its business operating in the country. This Dutch company owns the most popular search engine in Russia, often called “Russian Google”. Yandex dominates the domestic passenger transport market and owns a popular Russian e-commerce platform.

Yandex expansion

Yandex was also one of the most promising Russian technology companies in terms of global expansion. According to Reuters, the company’s taxi services operate in eight African countries, and autonomous cars have been tested in both the US and Israel.

However, in recent years, following Putin’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, the technology company has come under increasing government scrutiny. Yandex co-founder Arkady Volozh, who now lives in Israel, stepped down as CEO after the EU placed him on its sanctions list in June 2022 for “materially or financially” supporting the Russian government.

Volozh said then that the decision to impose sanctions on him was wrong. In August, he spoke out against the war, publicly denouncing the invasion as “barbaric”. The tech billionaire said he was personally horrified by the war and sympathized with the plight of Ukrainians “whose homes are bombed every day.”

Investors are afraid of Yandex

Before Volozh’s statements, the Dutch entity tried to distance itself from political issues in Russia. Yandex sold its news and blogging services to state-controlled social media platforms and rival VK in late 2022, after the Russian state tightened controls on online media.

However, Volozh’s comments have made potential investors wary of a partnership with Yandex’s parent company. The report shows that a group of Russian tycoons seeking assets wants a complete break with the Dutch entity.

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