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Washington, D.C. – House Foreign Affairs Committee Lead Republican Michael McCaul has released the following statement as voting begins in Russia’s parliamentary election and in response to Google and Apple’s decision to remove an app created by jailed Russian activist Alexei Navalny’s network to facilitate its “smart voting” campaign after facing strong pressure from the Kremlin.

“This weekend’s election in Russia is already neither free nor fair, as the results have been predetermined by the Putin regime’s ruthless pre-election crackdown on the opposition and independent media. I strongly urge the Biden Administration to join me in calling out this election for what it is: political theater to preserve Vladimir Putin’s authoritarian grip over Russia.

“The Administration also must take a much stronger stand against the Kremlin’s attempts to eradicate dissenting voices and unbiased journalism, including Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. The unfortunate decision by Google and Apple today to remove an opposition voting app linked to Navalny’s movement is a consequence of this Administration’s failure to push back against the Putin regime’s efforts to compel Western companies to abide by Russia’s repressive domestic censorship laws.”