This summer, Russia adopted a law establishing specific requirements for foreign companies that target a Russian internet audience (see more here) (the Law). The Russian authorities are continuing to discuss legal instruments that would allow successful implementation of the Law.

If foreign tech companies breach the Law (the Company(ies) in Breach), the Russian personal data and tech regulator (Roskomnadzor) may prohibit payments to such companies from the Russian territory. The ban will apply not only to the breaching company but to Russian banks and foreign payment platforms.

Roskomnadzor is required to maintain a register of foreign tech companies working with a Russian audience and will also compile a register of tech companies that have breached the Law and therefore should not receive any payments from Russia (the Register of Companies Banned from Receiving Payments). Banks, postal companies and communications operators must reject their customers’ requests for payments to the Companies in Breach.

Payment operators, including foreign payment platforms, may be tested to determine whether they are performing payments to the Companies in Breach. The procedure for such tests is under discussion. If the draft procedure is adopted in its current version, Roskomnadzor officers will be permitted to perform actions that imitate normal consumers’ actions for the purchase of goods/services from a Company in Breach.

Should the test result confirm that payments to a Company in Breach are possible, Roskomnadzor shall

  • inform the Bank of Russia as the banking regulator as to the Russian bank performing transactions in favour of a Company in Breach and request that such bank be penalised; or
  • subject the platform to a procedure involving (according to the draft regulation) notification of the platform and its entry into the register of foreign payment platforms performing payments to Banned Companies (the Register of Banned Payment Platforms).

If a payment platform is included in the Register of Banned Payment Platforms, Russian banks, postal companies and communications operators must reject the consumers’ requests for payments to such platforms and to the Banned Companies through such platforms.

The information on a payment platform may be excluded from the Register of Banned Platforms based on

  • a Roskomnadzor decision based on the platform’s enquiry or otherwise;
  • an effective court ruling cancelling Roskomnadzor’s decision; or
  • an effective court ruling cancelling Roskomnadzor’s decision to deny a request from the payment platform to be excluded from the Register of Banned Platforms.

The procedures for maintenance of the Register of Banned Payment Platforms and the Register of Companies Banned from Receiving Payments are currently being considered by the legislator.