Just hours after it was revealed Google will be down-ranking stories from the Kremlin-owned media properties Russia Today (RT) and Sputnik, Russia has announced that it will retaliate against the search giant if it carries through with its plans, Reuters reports. Alexander Zharov, the head of Russian media regulator Roskomnadzor, told Interfax that his agency sent a letter to Google on Tuesday requesting clarification on their intentions.
“We will receive an answer and understand what to do next. We hope our opinion will be heard, and we won’t have to resort to more serious [retaliatory measures],” Interfax quoted Zharov as saying. The Russian government funds both RT and Sputnik, media outlets that have been accused of trying to influence the 2016 presidential election.
For its part, Sputnik reported that Zharov said he would monitor “how discriminating this measure will be in its practical embodiment” and that “it is obvious that we will defend our media.”