Spotify’s decision to completely suspend its services in Russia is the latest in a series of sanctions it was imposed on the country amid its ongoing invasion of Ukraine. Two days before Putin signed the punitive “fake news” bill into law, Variety reported that the company indefinitely closed down its Russian office and removed Russian state-affiliated content from the platform, including Kremlin-backed media outlets KT and Sputnik.
On March 10, 2022, Spotify suspended its Premium subscription service in Russia in response to the invasion, which resulted in the loss of 1.5 million subscribers (per Digital Music News). That didn’t stop anyone in Russia from accessing Spotify in general because their accounts were going to be converted to the free tier at end of their subscription period.
Spotify is right to be concerned about its Russian employees and listeners who might face severe legal repercussions if they continue listening to news about the war in Ukraine from trusted media outlets that Moscow deems “fake news.” The government already banned Facebook for blocking Russian state-affiliated outlets and Instagram for allowing users to create posts critical of the country.