The man who turned Apple and Google away from Russia

Russia attacks Ukraine: Ukraine’s youngest cabinet minister has persuaded many big tech companies to back the country in its confrontation with Russia.

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If Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky is the face of the armed conflict between Ukraine and Russia, it is Ukraine’s Deputy Prime Minister Mykhailo Fedorov who makes big tech companies take strong action against Russia.

At 31, Mr. Fedorov is Ukraine’s youngest minister. Before the conflict, Mr. Fedorov, as Ukraine’s Minister of Digital Transformation, traveled the world and met with leaders of leading technology companies.

During the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, the minister used social media and email to appeal to companies technology biggest in the world against Russia.

Digital transformation promoter

Six months ago, Mykhailo Fedorov went to Silicon Valley to discuss his country’s digital transformation. On his Facebook account, he posted a photo with Apple CEO Tim Cook in Palo Alto, California, praising Cook as “the most talented manager in the world”.

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A photo taken with Apple CEO Mykhailo Fedorov shared on his personal page. Photo: Mykhailo Fedorov.

Before the Russian military entered Ukraine, Fedorov’s mission was to help more Ukrainians access the Internet, bring jobs and high-tech companies to the country.

During his tenure, Fedorov traveled the world, regularly meeting with leaders of top technology companies.

During a 2021 trip with Ukrainian President Zelensky to Apple headquarters, he spoke with Tim Cook about bringing the Apple Store to Ukraine, how Apple can help with the Ukrainian census, and expanding education and care. health care in this country.

In addition, he also shared meetings with Amazon, Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg and Google Vice President of Government Affairs Karan Bhatia.

Media war

When Russian missiles hit Ukraine, Fedorov called on some of the world’s major technology companies to shut down Russian communications and disconnect Russia from the rest of the world. According to Deputy Minister of Digital Transformation Alex Bornyakov, Mr. Fedorov has called for about 50 companies to give aid to Ukraine.

When the war affected Internet connections in Ukraine, Mr. Fedorov called for the help of tech billionaire Elon Musk. He asked the CEO of SpaceX to send the Starlink satellite Internet system, an important means to help Ukrainians connect to the internet.

Soon after, Elon Musk agreed, and just two days later Mr. Fedorov announced that the system had arrived.

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Mykhailo Fedorov, Minister of Digital Transformation of Ukraine. Photo: Getty.

Since Fedorov spoke out about the Russian attack last week, Facebook and YouTube have immediately restricted Russian media and Google has turned off some features on Google Maps to protect safety. of Ukrainian citizens. Following Fedorov’s request, Apple also said it would suspend all sales of its products in Russia.

After the conflict began, Bornyakov said the Ukrainian government’s first priority was to secure critical infrastructure against cyberattacks and to ensure government digital services remained functional. motion. But then they soon considered putting pressure on big tech companies to punish Russia.

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Mr. Fedorov announced on Twitter about the arrival of the Starlink satellite into the hands of the Ukrainians. Photo: Washington Post.

On February 26, Mr. Fedorov contacted Tim Cook directly to ask to block access to the App Store in Russia.

On February 27, he thanked Facebook’s president of global affairs, Nick Clegg, for taking steps to limit Russian state media.

“There is no place for war criminals in the metaverse,” Ukraine’s deputy prime minister said on Twitter.

On March 1, he continued to ask YouTube to make a decision. The next day, YouTube announced that it would restrict Russian state media in Europe.

Fedorov also made a direct appeal to the crypto community, calling on major exchanges to block Russian users and urging major credit card companies to block services in the country.

On the morning of March 1, Deputy Minister Bornyakov said that the Ukrainian Digital Transformation Department is in regular contact with companies such as Google, Apple and Meta.

Apple declined to comment on the September meeting, but said it was “communicating with relevant governments regarding the actions we are taking.” Google, Netflix and Amazon also declined to comment.

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Many technology companies like Meta, Google, Apple block services in Russia to protest the Ukraine attack. Photo: Reuters.

According to Emerson Brooking, senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, strong and continued pressure on social media from Mr. Fedorov and the Ukrainian government has helped them overcome Russia in the information war.

“The way Mr. Fedorov and Ukrainian politicians use Twitter shows that from the beginning they understood that this was going to be a media war,” Brooking said.

The ultimate goal is to help win the war by turning world opinion and the Russian people themselves against Putin and his government.

“Let’s make the Russian business community and Russian citizens see what the military is doing. When the major platforms and the whole world begin to act, this will be a signal to them that the actions of the Russian government are unacceptable,” Bornyakov said.

According to Zingnews/Washington Post

The Internet has become a fierce front in the Russia-Ukraine conflict

In Europe’s first major armed conflict since World War II, the Internet is becoming a fierce front for information warfare and mass intelligence.


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