- Yandex, Russia’s biggest tech giant, wants to cut ties with the country, according to the NYT.
- Yandex’s parent company has concerns about the impact of the Ukrainian war on its businesses.
- The exit could deliver a blow to President Putin as he focuses efforts on homegrown tech and goods.
Russia stands to lose its biggest tech company, which would throw a wrench in President Putin’s plans to foster Russian-grown alternatives for Western technology.Yandex, often referred to as Russia’s Google, is the country’s largest internet business best known for its search browser and ride-hailing apps. But its Dutch-based parent company, Yandex N.V., wants out of Russia because of the potential negative impact the Ukrainian invasion could have on its business, according to a report by The New York Times.The exit of Russia’s biggest tech company would deliver a blow to Putin, who has made a concerted effort to produce Russian technology and goods as sanctions cut access to Western suppliers.
Yandex N.V. said Friday that its board had “commenced a strategic process to review options to restructure the group’s ownership and governance in light of the current geopolitical environment.”These options, Yandex said, included developing some of its international divisions “independently from Russia” and divesting “ownership and control of all other businesses in the Yandex Group.” The company added: “This process is at a preliminary stage.”The Bell, a Russian media group, had earlier reported that Yandex N.V. would move its new businesses and most promising technologies — including self-driving cars, machine learning, and cloud-computing services — outside of Russia, the Times reported, citing two anonymous sources familiar with the matter. Those businesses would need access to Western markets, experts, and technology, all of which is unviable while the Russian invasion of Ukraine rages on and Western sanctions remain in place.However, the decision to move Yandex’s fledgling technology businesses might not be up to its parent company. The firm will have to get the Kremlin’s approval to transfer Russian-registered tech licenses outside of the country, The Times reported. Plus, Yandex’s shareholders would have to approve the broader restructuring plan.