On April 13, Github started suspending accounts linked to developers and organizations sanctioned by the US government over Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The San Fransisco-based company joins other leading tech giants who have withdrawn or suspended their operations in Russia.
Early March 2022, Jetbrains suspended sales and R&D activities in Russia and Belarus indefinitely over their aggression on Ukraine. In the same month, Google stopped licensing Russian-made BQ smartphones to run on Android which is owned by Google Inc. This was in solidarity with US sanctions on the Russian government. Visa and Mastercard have also withdrawn from Russia.
Github Inc. provides hosting for software development and version control using Git. It also offers the distributed version control and source code management functionality of Git.
Russian software developers are reporting that their Github accounts are being suspended without warning or substantial explanation. The victims are developers who are currently working for or have previously worked for companies and organizations under US sanctions.
For instance, Github accounts owned by Sberbank Technology, Sberbank AI Lab, and the Alfa Bank Laboratory whose repositories had been disabled are now removed from the platform.
Other Russian developers have been affected by this. However, victims who are not working for sanctioned organizations can appeal via email.
The move to suspend Russian accounts contradicts their previous statement. GitHub has previously stated that its vision is to be the home for all developers. This includes those residing in Russia, making it clear that it’s planning no mass bans.
Now, Github seeks to comply with the emerging new U.S laws. The new laws prohibit exporting any technology of U.S origin to Russia. The company says,” At the same time, we are taking action to support our platform and comply with the many government mandates you’ve likely read about in the context of this war.
“Our legal team examines such mandates thoroughly, and we are complying with export controls and trade regulations as they evolve. This includes implementing stringent new export controls that are aimed at severely restricting Russia’s access to technologies and other items it needs to sustain its aggressive military capabilities.”