Netflix will ignore a Russian law, expected to go into effect March 1st, that requires media platforms to carry state propaganda channels. In a statement to Deadline, the streaming platform referenced the invasion of Ukraine, stating, “Given the current situation, we have no plans to add these channels to our service.”
Netflix introduced a local-language service to Russia a little more than a year ago. As an “audiovisual service” with more than 100,000 users, it falls under the jurisdiction of Russia’s media watchdog Roskomnadzor. It would be obligated to avoid promoting “extremism,” whatever that means, while carrying Channel One, the entertainment network NTV, and a Russian Orthodox Church channel.
Given Russia’s ongoing military campaign in Ukraine, it’s unclear if the media law will go into effect as planned, or what consequences Netflix may face for not complying. Currently, it has less than one million users in Russia out of 222 million users globally.
In defying Russia, Netflix joins a global rebuke of Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked aggression. Worldwide sanctions have sent Russia’s ruble into a free fall, the country has been banned from Eurovision 2022, and artists including Green Day and popular Russian rapper Oxxxymiron have cancelled concerts in protest. What’s worse, not even Steven Seagal is willing to fight for them.