Apple caves to Russian pressure, changes map to show Crimea part of Russia

Russia's lower house of parliament, the Duma, crowed on Wednesday, "Crimea and Sevastopol now appear on Apple devices as Russian territory."  In 2014, during the Obama presidency, Russia invaded and took over the peninsula that had been part of Ukraine.  In contrast to the hysterical rhetoric over President Trump's brief delay of military aid to Ukraine now, those decrying Trump were utterly silent as no lethal military aid was sent.

More than five years later, under considerable pressure from Russia, Apple maps were changed to reflect "the facts on the ground."


Via BBC.

Considerable outrage has resulted, predictably from Ukrainian politicians and bloggers have added their voice to condemnation of Apple's decision to show Crimea as a Russian territory on its maps.

Ukrainian foreign minister Vadym Prystaiko tweeted: "Apple, please stick to hi-tech and entertainment. Global politics is not your strong side."

Russian ex-world chess champion Garry Kasparov added his voice, calling the decision "unacceptable appeasement".

Apple is yet to comment on the move.

Another outraged voice belongs to Alex Stamos, former security chief of Facebook:

Apple's decision to list Ukraine's Crimean peninsula as part of Russia has been slammed as "shameful" by Facebook's former security chief, Alex Stamos. (snip)

Stamos, the chief security officer for Facebook from 2015-18 who is outspoken on security and geopolitical issues, has weighed in on Twitter to blast Apple's actions.

"Apple's shameful behavior in Russia and China shows: A) The benefit to management of having a docile, internally-isolated employee base. B) The downsides of shipping a physical product, which strengthens the leverage governments have over a company," he wrote. (snip)

The security exec also drew a comparison between Google's famously vocal and politically engaged employee base and Apple's, which has not seen the same kind of worker protests and internal organising actions that have roiled other tech companies in recent years.

"There is an apocryphal claim that UC Davis lacks a central square due to the experience of the Regents dealing with student unrest at Berkeley in Sproul Plaza," he wrote. "The next generation of tech leaders will learn the same lesson from the experience of Apple's vs Google's management."

I find Stamos's claims a little weak, considering that the BBC reported:

Google, which also produces a popular Maps app, also shows Crimea as belonging to Russia when viewed from the country. The changes happened in March.

When Google Maps is viewed from Ukraine, the maps show no clear border between Crimea and Ukraine but also no border between Crimea and Russia, according to BBC Monitoring.

I don't approve of Russia's annexation of Crimea, either.  And most of the world still does not recognize Russian sovereignty there, though Russia certainly now exercises sovereignty in all respects.  It strikes me as a convenient fiction, a rhetorical weapon more than a realistic statement to maintain that Crimea is part of Ukraine.

Russia's lower house of parliament, the Duma, crowed on Wednesday, "Crimea and Sevastopol now appear on Apple devices as Russian territory."  In 2014, during the Obama presidency, Russia invaded and took over the peninsula that had been part of Ukraine.  In contrast to the hysterical rhetoric over President Trump's brief delay of military aid to Ukraine now, those decrying Trump were utterly silent as no lethal military aid was sent.

More than five years later, under considerable pressure from Russia, Apple maps were changed to reflect "the facts on the ground."


Via BBC.

Considerable outrage has resulted, predictably from Ukrainian politicians and bloggers have added their voice to condemnation of Apple's decision to show Crimea as a Russian territory on its maps.

Ukrainian foreign minister Vadym Prystaiko tweeted: "Apple, please stick to hi-tech and entertainment. Global politics is not your strong side."

Russian ex-world chess champion Garry Kasparov added his voice, calling the decision "unacceptable appeasement".

Apple is yet to comment on the move.

Another outraged voice belongs to Alex Stamos, former security chief of Facebook:

Apple's decision to list Ukraine's Crimean peninsula as part of Russia has been slammed as "shameful" by Facebook's former security chief, Alex Stamos. (snip)

Stamos, the chief security officer for Facebook from 2015-18 who is outspoken on security and geopolitical issues, has weighed in on Twitter to blast Apple's actions.

"Apple's shameful behavior in Russia and China shows: A) The benefit to management of having a docile, internally-isolated employee base. B) The downsides of shipping a physical product, which strengthens the leverage governments have over a company," he wrote. (snip)

The security exec also drew a comparison between Google's famously vocal and politically engaged employee base and Apple's, which has not seen the same kind of worker protests and internal organising actions that have roiled other tech companies in recent years.

"There is an apocryphal claim that UC Davis lacks a central square due to the experience of the Regents dealing with student unrest at Berkeley in Sproul Plaza," he wrote. "The next generation of tech leaders will learn the same lesson from the experience of Apple's vs Google's management."

I find Stamos's claims a little weak, considering that the BBC reported:

Google, which also produces a popular Maps app, also shows Crimea as belonging to Russia when viewed from the country. The changes happened in March.

When Google Maps is viewed from Ukraine, the maps show no clear border between Crimea and Ukraine but also no border between Crimea and Russia, according to BBC Monitoring.

I don't approve of Russia's annexation of Crimea, either.  And most of the world still does not recognize Russian sovereignty there, though Russia certainly now exercises sovereignty in all respects.  It strikes me as a convenient fiction, a rhetorical weapon more than a realistic statement to maintain that Crimea is part of Ukraine.