Russia uses various means to erode Ukraine's presence in the digital world, including on Yandex Maps. Early last month, Yandex reconfigured the digital landscape of Ukraine and Russia in line with Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
The Yandex Maps platform removes Ukraine's national borders from its digital map product. Users of the Yandex Maps application, which is popular in CIS countries, no longer see the state border line in Eastern Ukraine which borders directly with Russia.
However, the User can still see the name of the country of Ukraine and its territories.
Reporting from TechCrunch, the removal of the Ukrainian and Russian borders on Yandex Maps is an attempt by Yandex to avoid political pressure from the Kremlin.
Yandex seems to choose to play it safe to avoid criticism from the Vladimir Putin regime. Vladimir Putin himself has stated that he wants to redraw the physical borders of Russia and Ukraine through military operations.
A Yandex spokesman did not explicitly reveal the company's real reason for removing the Ukraine – Russia border on Yandex Maps.
Reporting from TechCrunch, a Yandex spokesperson admitted to only rolling out the changes as part of a shift in emphasis on local navigation.
“Yandex maps is a universal service that helps people find nearby organizations and places, choose public transportation, and plan convenient routes. This is a major use case for kali,” said a Yandex spokesperson as reported by TechCrunch.
“In the near future, maps will become more physical-geographical at a scale where they are not used for their primary purpose. The emphasis there will shift from national borders to natural objects,” he continued.
Our goal is to show the world around us. Therefore, some objects such as mountains, rivers, arctic circle lines, and other data that are specific to this map will appear,” he concluded.
Regardless of the reason for the removal, Yandex's move to remain in Russia is a clever initiative.
They try to adapt to the changing situation and politics in Russia in order to survive.
However, the move has also been criticized by the international community.