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Spotify closes Russian office

By | Published on Tuesday 3 February 2015


Spotify has abandoned plans to launch in Russia, with its office in the country due to close later this month.

Russian news agency TASS reports that the head of the streaming service in the country, Alexander Kubaneishvili, wrote in a memo to his contacts: “I regret to say that Spotify has refused to start business in Russia in the nearest future. There are several reasons for that: the economic recession, the political situation, new laws controlling [the use of] the internet”.

He continued: “My last official working day is 12 Feb. Speaking for myself, I can only confirm the fact that indeed, there will be no start-up in the nearest future”.

It had been expected that Spotify would launch in Russia early this year, with negotiations for a partnership with tel co Vimpelcom taking place last year.

However, Russian President Vladimir Putin has recently begun to place strict controls on internet usage in the country, particularly on people accessing foreign websites, as tensions between Russia and Europe and the US continue to grow. Indeed Putin last year branded the internet a “CIA project” that his country needs to be protected from.

Last month, a new law came into effect requiring foreign internet companies to store users’ personal data on servers within Russia’s borders. In December, Google also closed its engineering office in the country, a move thought to be related to this change in the law.

Spotify declined to comment.