In a rare and candid public statement, Arkady Volozh, one of the founders of Yandex, often referred to as Russia’s counterpart to Google, has unequivocally expressed his opposition to the Kremlin’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Volozh’s stance, shared through a written statement with POLITICO, provides a significant insight into the sentiments of a prominent figure within the Russian business landscape.
Volozh’s words are resolute and impassioned: “Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is barbaric, and I am categorically against it.” His empathy for the people of Ukraine is palpable, as he expresses his horror at their plight in the wake of the conflict.
The co-founder of Yandex, established in 1997, Arkady Volozh has been residing in Israel since 2014. His decision to step down as Yandex’s CEO in June 2022 was influenced by his EU sanctions, stemming from allegations of “material or financial” support for Russia’s war efforts. He acknowledges that the escalation of Kremlin aggression in February 2022 led him to recognize the conclusion of his role in Yandex’s journey. In the midst of this shift, Volozh chose to remain silent, directing his energies towards assisting talented Russian engineers who made the brave choice to depart the nation.
These engineers, according to Volozh, are now positioned to chart new territories, continuing to drive technological progress and innovation. He sees them as potential assets for the countries that welcome them, contributing to their technological advancement.
Yandex, Russia’s largest tech company, has been increasingly under scrutiny by Moscow, reflecting the government’s desire to exert greater control over the nation’s internet landscape. In April 2022, the state-controlled entity VK assumed control over various facets of Yandex’s operations, including its news aggregator, the widely used yandex.ru homepage, and the Zen infotainment service.
Arkady Volozh’s vocal stance stands as a notable moment, where a leading figure in Russian business publicly voices his dissent against the ongoing conflict in Ukraine. His words echo the sentiments of those who prioritize humanity and global peace over political agendas.
Q1: Who is Arkady Volozh, and what is his connection to Yandex?
Arkady Volozh is a co-founder of Yandex, often regarded as Russia’s equivalent to Google. He played a key role in the company’s establishment.
Q2: What did Volozh express his opposition to in his statement?
Volozh strongly opposed Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, denouncing it as “barbaric.”
Q3: Why did Volozh step down as Yandex’s CEO?
Volozh’s decision to step down was influenced by EU sanctions he faced for alleged “material or financial” support of Russia’s war efforts.
Q4: How has Volozh supported Russian engineers who left the country?
Volozh has directed his efforts towards assisting Russian engineers who left the country, believing they can contribute to technological innovation in new territories.
Q5: What changes have occurred at Yandex recently?
Yandex has come under increased scrutiny by Moscow, with state-controlled company VK taking control of various aspects of Yandex’s operations, including its news aggregator and homepage.