Netflix suspends service in Russia in protest of Ukraine invasion

The streaming platform had previously put all future Russian projects on hold

Netflix has suspended its service in Russia entirely in protest of the country’s invasion of Ukraine.

The streaming service joins a growing list of companies that have stopped serving Russia since the full-scale invasion began on February 24.

Netflix had previously announced a hold on Russian projects and acquisitions and refused to carry 20 Russian propaganda channels that it was required to host under Russian law. Now, the service has been shut down entirely in the country.

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“Given the circumstances on the ground, we have decided to suspend our service in Russia,” a spokesperson told Variety of the move.

Netflix
Netflix headquarters CREDIT: Kristoffer Tripplaar/Alamy

The platform’s previous sanctions on the country had seen four Russian original works put on pause. That includes the platform’s first Russian original Anna K, a modern retelling of Leo Tolstoy’s novel Anna Karenina, which wrapped filming last year, and the detective drama series Zato.

The service launched in Russia in 2016 but still has only a small number of subscribers compared to its dominance worldwide. While it has 222million subscribers globally, only approximately 1million of that number comes from Russia.

The company has also made a 2015 documentary called Winter On Fire: Ukraine’s Fight For Freedom available to watch for free. The film explores the Euromaidan protests in Ukraine, which started after former president Viktor Yanukovych decided to strengthen the country’s ties with Russia instead of making an agreement with the European Union.

Netflix joins the West’s major film studios in boycotting Russia. The studios, including Disney and Warner Bros, have pulled their theatrical releases from the country as the situation continues to escalate.

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Other companies to pull out of Russia include Spotify, which shuttered its Moscow office indefinitely earlier this month, and Apple, which has halted all product sales in the country.

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