July 30, 2014

Russian Official Faults Google For "Manipulations" In Egypt

Google’s attempts to “do no evil” and defend Wael Ghonim may have raised the Russian government’s ire.  Deputy Prime Minister Igor Sechin has been quoted blaming more than one executive for contributing to the Egyptian revolution.

According to a new Reuters article, Sechin said, “Look what they have done in Egypt, those highly-placed managers of Google, what manipulations of the energy of the people took place there.”

Assuming that quote’s completely accurate (and translation issues or some other small misunderstanding could come into play), Sechin’s drawn some interesting conclusions.  First, consider the words “they” and “managers,” implying that Ghonim wasn’t acting alone.

Then there’s the term “manipulations” to consider, since it has some pretty unpleasant connotations.

This might cause more than a few problems for Google.  The Russian government isn’t known for tolerating rabble-rousers, and Google’s already had trouble competing with local search company Yandex.  Negative PR or a formal penalty of some sort wouldn’t help.

Sechin has a bit of evidence on his side, too.  The official Google Twitter account has at least twice tweeted in support of Ghonim, and Eric Schmidt’s also indicated a certain level of approval.

Huge relief–Wael Ghonim has been released. Our love to him and his family.less than a minute ago via webA Googler
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We’re incredibly proud of you, @Ghonim, & of course will welcome you back when you’re ready – cf. http://goo.gl/2BDGpless than a minute ago via webA Googler
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