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Russian developers create Google Play Store alternative to get around sanctions

NashStore, which translates as OurStore, will work on Android and be compatible with Russian bank cards for contactless payments

Adam Smith
Friday 01 April 2022 16:56 BST
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(Getty Images)

Russian developers are building an alternative to the Google Play store, which will launch next week.

Google suspended all payment-based services in Russia last month, citing a “payment system disruption” which likely refers to the economic sanctions placed on the country by the United States.

YouTube, which is owned by Google, paused its “monetisation features, including YouTube Premium, Channel Memberships, Super Chat and Merchandise, for viewers in Russia.”

The new platform NashStore, which translates as OurStore, will work on Android and be compatible with Russian bank cards for contactless payments.

“Unfortunately, Russians can no longer normally use Google Play to buy apps and developers have lost their source of income,” said Vladimir Zykov, director of projects at Digital Platforms, an organisation focused on digital development.

“This is why we have created a Russian app shop, NashStore,” Mr Zykov said in a statement, as reported by Reuters.

The new store will launch on 9 May, a national holiday in Russia celebrating its victory in the second world war.

As well as Google, Facebook owner Meta has also restricted access to the pages of Russian media companies across the EU - although a bug meant that their content was still promoted in the news feed.

TikTok suspended live streaming and posting “in light of Russia’s new ‘fake news’ law”, and Netflix also removed itself from the country.

Downloads of VPNs that would allow them to access information outside of Russia has increased by over 1,000 per cent. Reports state that downloads for the top VPN software in Russia increased dramatically – from an average of 16,000 per day to over 700,000 daily downloads.

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