The engineering office employs approximately 50 engineers in Moscow and each member of staff will have the option of moving with Google elsewhere.
Russia, alongside China, is known for stringent censorship laws designed to control the Internet activity of the general public and corporations. The latest set of new laws passed by governors requires tech firms to store data related to Russian citizens locally, something Google may not be willing to tolerate — and can evade by removing itself from the country.
In a statement, Google said:
“We are deeply committed to our Russian users and customers and we have a dedicated team in Russia working to support them.”
The new laws were pushed through in response to revelations pertaining to the US National Security Agency (NSA). Former NSA contractor Edward Snowden released hundreds of confidential documents to the media over the past year which documented widespread and uncontrolled bulk data collection and spying upon not only the US general public, but other nations.
Google will be joining Adobe Systems, which reportedly closed down its Russian offices earlier this year.