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Podcast: How Russia’s everything company works with the Kremlin

Yandex is the crown jewel of Russia’s silicon valley—but is often caught between the demands of the government and Wall Street.

September 30, 2020
Tatiana Stanovaya:
After very lengthy negotiations they settled on the idea of a public interest foundation. It’s a half-measure. The logic behind it… was that, on one hand,… there were the siloviki, who thought Yandex should become a Russian company. Volozh , the CEO, should quit, there should be a change of ownership, and the company should be registered in Russia and carry out all its operations in Russia, and its main interests should all be here. And on the other hand you have the liberals in the government. They thought that the solution the siloviki proposed would be catastrophic for the Russian markets. So there was a compromise that neither group would get its way with the company. This public interest foundation is basically a buffer.So in this way, the foundation was supposed to somewhat mitigate the worries of the siloviki. But to them it’s not a solution to the problem. To them it’s more like a forced surrender… Meaning, Yandex has not become a Russian company, and for today the question is off the table, but that doesn’t mean it couldn’t come up tomorrow. And I think that the security establishment of the Russian elite could find a pretext, maybe not now but in the next few years, to revise this arrangement. We’ll see.

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