It looks like Alphabet (NASDAQ:GOOG, NASDAQ:GOOGL) is drawing the ire of Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Kremlin. But never fear — I don’t expect it to have a big impact on GOOG stock.
Russia has its hands full these days. Putin ordered his military into neighboring Ukraine in an invasion that’s being criticized by much of the western world. And the fighting — which Russia surely thought would be over with quickly — has stretched into more than two months.
One of the Kremlin’s key tools is its propaganda — Moscow is tightly controlling its media these days. It claims the atrocities its soldiers have left behind are false flags by Ukraine itself. Its state-run media maintains the party line, and anyone in Russia who doesn’t support the war effort risks being considered a sympathizer or more.
Discussing YouTube, Duma speaker Vyacheslav Volodin claimed that “[i]t is another proof of Washington’s violation of rights and freedoms … Washington is ignoring all the principles of democracy to make sure that all platforms, including YouTube, present only the US position. The United States seeks a monopoly on information but we can’t have that.”
Roskomnadzor, the country’s telecom regulator, took things one step further with criticism of Google and its parent company. “The American IT company adheres to a pronounced anti-Russian position in the information war unleashed by the West against our country,” it said in a statement.
YouTube is popular in Russia, used by more than 75% of internet users in the country, according to eMarketer. An estimated 96.2 million Russians use YouTube, compared to 58.1 million in 2017. But that’s only a small fraction of the more than 2 billion global monthly active users of the platform.
Considering how unpopular Putin’s war is around the world, GOOG stock will likely come down safely on the right side of history in this dispute. Even if the Kremlin does something as rash as completely ban YouTube from Russia or move against Alphabet, the impact to GOOG stock should be negligible.
On the date of publication, Patrick Sanders did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.