Ukraine crisis: Crimea made part of Russia on Google Maps – but only for Russian users

When viewed from Ukraine and the rest of the world, Crimea’s border is ‘disputed’

The disputed border between Crimea and Ukraine has been changed in the latest update to Google Maps, making the peninsula an official part of the Russian federation – but only for Russian users.

This revision of Europe's borders has only come into effect in Russia itself, meaning that when viewed from the rest of the world the divide is still marked with the bold dotted line reserved for internationally-disputed territories.

Perhaps more bizarrely, the update actually only seems to affect the border line itself – place names within Crimea are still listed as being part of Ukraine (such as Simferopol, Crimea, Ukraine).

The change appears to have come as a result of pressure imposed on Google Russia by Vladimir Putin's government, according to recent reports in the Moscow Times.

At the end of last month the long-running Russian broadsheet newspaper Izvestia reported that a politician, Anatoly Sidyakin, had asked the "Federal Mass Media Inspection Service" to investigate the portrayal of the Crimean border on Russian websites.

Mr Sidyakin apparently asked the agency to evaluate Microsoft's Bing, Google's Maps service and the Russian-language version of Wikipedia for labelling the Black Sea peninsula as a disputed territory.

Crimea on English-language Google Maps:

Crimea as seen on Google Russia:

 

Mr Sidyakin reportedly referred agents to the popular Russian search engine Yandex which shows Russian users that Crimea is part of Russia, while showing it as part of Ukraine to Ukrainians. That example now appears to have been followed.

It is not the first time Google has sought to stay out of an international dispute by trying to please both sides. According to the Washington Post, maps of the disputed Arunachal Pradesh region of north-east India appear very differently between Google.co.in and Google.cn.

Svetlana Anurova, a spokesperson for Google Russia, told the news agency Itar-Tass: "The Google Maps team is doing its best to objectively mark disputed regions and landmarks.

"In relevant cases the borders of disputed areas are marked in a special way. In countries where we have a localized version of our service, we follow local laws on representing borders and use of landmark names."

In eastern Ukraine on Sunday the government engaged with pro-Russian militia-men in a gun battle for control of key security service and police buildings. The US accused Russia of trying to recreate circumstances similar to those that preceded the annexing of Crimea to the Russian federation.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Senior Environmental Adviser - Maternity Cover

£37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...

Recruitment Genius: CBM & Lubrication Technician

£25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...

Recruitment Genius: Care Worker - Residential Emergency Service

£16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Landscaper

£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...

Day In a Page

Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

Britain's 24-hour culture

With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

The addictive nature of Diplomacy

Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
8 best children's clocks

Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea
Tunisia fears its Arab Spring could be reversed as the new regime becomes as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor

The Arab Spring reversed

Tunisian protesters fear that a new law will whitewash corrupt businessmen and officials, but they are finding that the new regime is becoming as intolerant of dissent as its predecessor
King Arthur: Legendary figure was real and lived most of his life in Strathclyde, academic claims

Academic claims King Arthur was real - and reveals where he lived

Dr Andrew Breeze says the legendary figure did exist – but was a general, not a king
Who is Oliver Bonas and how has he captured middle-class hearts?

Who is Oliver Bonas?

It's the first high-street store to pay its staff the living wage, and it saw out the recession in style
Earth has 'lost more than half its trees' since humans first started cutting them down

Axe-wielding Man fells half the world’s trees – leaving us just 422 each

However, the number of trees may be eight times higher than previously thought
60 years of Scalextric: Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones

60 years of Scalextric

Model cars are now stuffed with as much tech as real ones