A story of (non)compliance, bias, and conspiracies: How Google and Yandex represented Smart Voting during the 2021 parliamentary elections in Russia

Mykola Makhortykh*, Aleksandra Urman, Mariëlle Wijermars

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


On 3 September 2021, the Russian court forbade Google and Yandex to display search results for “Smart Voting,” the query referring to a tactical voting project by the jailed Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny. To examine whether the two search engines complied with the court order, we collected top search outputs for the query from Google and Yandex. Our analysis demonstrates the lack of compliance from both engines; however, while Google continued prioritizing outputs related to the opposition’s web resources, Yandex removed links to them and, in some cases, promoted conspiratorial claims aligning with the Russian authorities’ anti-Western narrative.
Original languageEnglish
JournalHarvard Kennedy School Misinformation Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Cite this