- Putin’s war in Ukraine may have killed off one of Russia’s most promising tech companies.
- Yandex NV is reportedly planning to sell off most of its Russian business.
- The company owns Russia’s most popular search engine and dominates the ride-hailing market.
Putin’s war in Ukraine has taken quite a toll on the country’s most successful tech company.
Yandex NV is planning to sell off most of its business operating in the country, sources told Bloomberg. The Dutch-domiciled company owns Russia’s most popular search engine, which is often referred to as “Russia’s Google.”
Yandex dominates the country’s ride-hailing market, and owns a popular Russian e-commerce platform.
Sources familiar with the matter told Reuters that Yandex NV was considering selling off all its Russian assets at once, with parties seeking to finalize a sale before the end of the year.
It was also one of the most promising Russian tech companies in terms of global expansion. The company’s taxi services operate in eight African countries and it’s tested self-driving cars in both the US and Israel, per Reuters.
The tech company has, however, come under increasing government scrutiny in recent years after Putin’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
Yandex’s cofounder Arkady Volozh, who now lives in Israel, stepped down as CEO after the EU included him on its sanctions list in June 2022 for “materially or financially” supporting the Russian government.
Volozh said at the time that the decision to sanction him was misguided. He broke spoke out against the war in August, publically condemning the invasion as “barbaric.” The tech billionaire said he was personally horrified by the war and sympathized with the plight of Ukrainians, “whose houses are being bombed every day.”
The Dutch entity had sought to distance itself from political issues in Russia before Volozh’s statements. Yandex sold its news and blogging services to state-controlled social-media platforms and rival VK in late 2022 after the Russian state tightened controls on online media.
However, Volozh’s comments have made potential investors wary of partnerships with Yandex’s parent company, Bloomberg reported. The group of Russian tycoons bidding for the assets wants a full break with the Dutch entity, the report said.
Representatives for Yandex declined to comment on the reports.