Yandex Blog

Yandex’s University Collaboration Honored by Coursera at Annual Partners Conference

As one of Europe’s largest internet companies, we feel we have a responsibility to help educate a future generation of data scientists, as well as encourage current learners interested in subjects such as artificial intelligence and machine learning.  Through our education initiatives, we help provide the tools people need to learn the skills for the jobs of tomorrow.  Our collaborations with universities are a central part of this effort.  We believe that by sharing knowledge in partnerships with academic leaders, tech companies can help advance AI education to better prepare learners for the demands of the growing job market for data scientists.

At the Coursera Partners Conference this week in London, an annual event that brings together industry and academic partners who create content for Coursera, one such partnership was recognized for its innovative approach to online education.  Coursera awarded Yandex with the Outstanding Educator Award for Innovation for our Advanced Machine Learning specialization, which is offered through the Faculty of Computer Science at the Higher School of Economics (HSE) in Moscow, a program we co-founded with HSE in 2014.  The specialization covers seven courses that teach students the skills they need to master modern machine learning methods, such as deep learning, reinforcement learning, natural language understanding, computer vision, and Bayesian methods.  The courses are taught in English by machine learning experts from the Faculty of Computer Science.

We’re thrilled to have been honored by Coursera for our specialization that is a result of our commitment to collaboration with academia and offering educational opportunities to learners everywhere.  Coursera and other online learning platforms have become an integral part of global education, providing a more accessible source of education for people around the world.  In 2018, Coursera hosted over 800 new courses covering various topics, and we are grateful to have been selected for the Innovation award among so many impressive courses.

Sofia Tekhazheva, Manager of Academic Program Services at the Yandex School of Data Analysis (YSDA), attended the Coursera Partners Conference.  Sofia represented Yandex during the “University and Industry Collaborations: Preparing the Workforce of Tomorrow” panel to share insights on the benefits of collaboration between universities and industry partners.  Sofia notes that “it’s critical to work with universities to provide academic opportunities in computer science and related fields.  We need to create education systems that will help people adapt to today’s changing job demands, especially as more industries are increasingly relying on data science.  Building these learning platforms requires both resources and expertise; collaborations among industry and academia can help better provide this.  These collaborative efforts lead to more innovative programs.  The launch and success of the Advanced Machine Learning specialization exemplify what these types of collaboration can achieve.”

The Faculty of Computer Science at HSE, which offers the Advanced Machine Learning specialization on Coursera, is at the cornerstone of our collaborative projects with academia.  When we jointly opened the FCS with HSE in 2014, our goal was to prepare a new generation of learners in software engineering and applied mathematics and informatics.  As the faculty approaches its fifth anniversary, it has grown to enroll over 1,500 students and staff over 200 experts in the field.  FCS now offers three bachelor’s programmes, six master’s programmes, and a doctoral programme, as well as initiatives like the Advanced Machine Learning specialization on Coursera.

The Faculty of Computer Science is just one of many ways that Yandex works with universities to promote education.  Since 2007, the Yandex School of Data Analysis (YSDA) has provided university students with a free master’s level program in computer science and data analysis.  YSDA courses are taught by professors from prestigious Russian universities like Moscow State University, the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT), and HSE, among others.  Educators affiliated with these schools also help administer YSDA.  Yandex also supports a chair of data analysis at MIPT, which teaches data science skills to a select group of bachelor’s students in the School of Applied Mathematics and Informatics.  The chair also directs a master’s program at MIPT.  In Israel, Yandex has partnered with Tel Aviv University to create the Machine Learning Initiative, which brings together a cluster of machine learning courses and supports students with Yandex Fellowships.  YSDA also hosts a career advancement program in the branch of the school at TAU.

The alumni of our many education programs have gone on to work in academia, at Yandex, and at other major tech firms.  We’re proud to see students from our academic programs continuing to foster talent across the global tech ecosystem.  With online education initiatives like our Advanced Machine Learning specialization, students all around the world have the opportunity to explore and lead careers in AI and machine learning.  We’re honored to have our education efforts and academic collaborations recognized by Coursera, and we welcome learners interested in data science to check out the course.

Yandex Zen Partners with Cốc Cốc to Provide AI Content Feed to Vietnamese Users

Three years ago, Yandex launched our Zen platform to help users discover new and relevant personalised content online.  The service, which is powered by Yandex’s AI technologies and global search index, helps users discover blogs, videos, images, and other posts by analyzing user behavior and providing content based on their interests.  Now reaching over 40 million active users, a number of Yandex services incorporate Zen, in addition to other global browsers and messaging platforms.  

Today we are excited to share Yandex Zen is now working with Cốc Cốc, one of the most popular search providers and web browsers in Vietnam, to deliver an enhanced browsing experience and better content engagement for their users.  The integration in the Cốc Cốc browser, which serves nearly 24 million monthly active users, is Yandex Zen’s first integration into a platform offered in Southeast Asia.  

The Cốc Cốc browser start page features a Zen recommendation feed on both desktop and mobile through their Newtab 4.0 feature.  The recommendation feed analyzes online content and user behavior to display personalised posts for users in Vietnamese.  For example, users who enjoy cooking and music will see more content on those topics along with other subjects they may like.  Users can further personalise their feeds by providing feedback such as selecting the like or dislike buttons on each article.  

“People across the globe are increasingly seeking content tailored to their interests and needs,” says Dao Thu Phuong, Cốc Cốc COO.  “At Cốc Cốc, we aim to provide this sort of meaningful experience to all Vietnamese users and fulfill our vision of becoming the most relevant browser in Vietnam.  To address the growing demand to improve processing information, we created Newtab 4.0 - a personalized content delivery platform, based on Yandex technologies.  By working together with Yandex, we are making new experiences available to users in different parts of the world.”

The partnership with Cốc Cốc is just the latest in a series of integrations Zen has established with global companies including Opera Browser in Russia, other CIS States, and Turkey; Bip Messenger in Turkey; Meizu Browser in their main markets including Russia, Indonesia, Spain, Italy; and C Launcher globally.  

"Yandex Zen offers relevant recommendations regardless of users’ preferred language,” says Head of Yandex Zen Dmitry Ivanov.  “By supporting over 50 languages and utilizing Yandex’s global web index, Zen can easily be integrated into platforms operating in new foreign markets.  According to our initial tests integrating Zen technologies into the Cốc Cốc desktop browser, usage time increased by 10%.  Through our collaboration, Cốc Cốc users now have an unlimited source of interesting and relevant content, and content providers have a new opportunity to boost user engagement."

Zen offers the benefits of world-class AI technologies in an out-of-the-box solution to grow user engagement and increase platform activity.  By providing dynamic content, users remain engaged on the platform.  On average, Zen users in Russia spend over 40 minutes on their feed.  The platform supports over 50 languages and utilizes Yandex’s global web index to analyze content relevant for users anywhere.  The platform also features additional revenue opportunities through ads inside Zen.

We are excited to be working in Vietnam, where both the growing internet audience and online media market are expected to continue to create new opportunities.  According to eMarketer, the internet audience in Vietnam is expected to reach 62.2 million users by 2022. The online media market in Vietnam (games, social media, and video platforms) has grown from $600 million in 2015 to $2.2 billion in 2018, with expected growth to reach $6 billion by 2025.

Welcome Learners: Yandex Hosts NLP Week 2019

Education is something we feel passionate about, and as STEM skills become essential in today’s work environments, we are committed to providing avenues for people to improve their data science expertise.  As one of Europe’s largest internet companies, we have a responsibility to help educate future generations in data science, artificial intelligence, and machine learning.  The Yandex School of Data Analysis (YSDA), a free master’s-level program in computer science, is at the centerpiece of these efforts.

Through the MA program, YSDA provides students with the opportunity to take courses in many different data science fields, and participate in internships, online courses, and additional extended educational opportunities.  As part of our commitment to education and our support of data science learning, we’re excited to kick off a new extended education effort this week - the first Natural Language Processing (NLP) Week at Yandex’s headquarters in Moscow.

NLP Week 2019 offers students a research-oriented intensive program on NLP in English.  Each course will be three hours long, for a total of twelve hours of in-person teaching throughout the week.  NLP Week acts as an extension to the NLP course taught at YSDA, but any students or professionals with a sufficient background in NLP and a strong command of English could also register for the course.  By the end of the four-day course, students at NLP Week will have learned the NLP applications of latent variables, deep generative models and semantic parsing.

Students of the Yandex School of Data Analysis

We are thrilled to welcome two respected experts in the field to teach NLP week!  Wilker Aziz of the Institute for Logic, Language and Computation at the University of Amsterdam will teach courses on latent variable models, deep generative models, and advanced topics.  Mirella Lapata of the School of Informatics at the University of Edinburgh will teach semantic parsing.

Wilker Aziz
Mirella Lapata

We look forward to all the exciting classes ahead this week.  We will be sharing more on our social channels and welcome our students to join the conversation!

Yandex Teams up with Hyundai Mobis on Self-Driving Cars

When our self-driving car program began in 2017, our ultimate goal was to create true Level 5 autonomous vehicles; that is, cars that do not require driver intervention in any driving scenario.  Now in its third year, our self-driving team is getting ever closer to realizing this vision.  Since August, we successfully launched our public robotaxi service, expanded testing of the technology to Israel, and demoed one of our cars without a driver on public roads during CES 2019.   As we continue on our journey to develop advanced self-driving cars, today we’re excited to announce our first automotive collaboration.  

Yandex and Hyundai Mobis, one of the world’s largest automotive suppliers, have agreed to begin working together to develop software and hardware systems for self-driving cars.  The two companies signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on March 18, 2019.  The ultimate goal of this collaboration will be to create a self-driving platform that can be used by any car manufacturer or taxi fleet.     

Yandex Hyundai Mobis MOU signing ceremony, March 18, 2019.

Hyundai Mobis brings strong experience in developing automotive technology such as driver assistance systems that rely on sensors, radars, and cameras to detect the cars’ surroundings.  Combining Hyundai Mobis’ expertise in automotive hardware and technology and Yandex’s established self-driving technologies, we aim to deliver a comprehensive, safe, and advanced self-driving vehicle platform.

Initial testing of the co-developed technology will be in self-driving Hyundai and Kia vehicles, which we ultimately plan to develop into a self-driving control system that can be used on a broad set of vehicles.  Our work with Hyundai Mobis will be a central part of our long-term vision of self-driving technology becoming a part of our everyday lives.

As we look ahead to expanding our robotaxi service and advancing our self-driving car to the highest level of autonomy, working with a global automotive supplier allows us to more quickly realize these goals.  Hyundai Mobis brings over 40 years of experience producing an array of vehicle hardware for companies around the world. Cooperating with a world class automotive supplier gives us a streamlined avenue for producing self-driving cars at scale.  Hyundai Mobis’ expertise in safety technology will also ensure our self-driving cars meet the highest standards for passenger safety. 

The first automotive agreement for our self-driving car team is a significant step forward for the program.  We’re enthusiastic about the future vehicles we will be able to produce and how this collaboration will help bring self-driving cars into the lives of more people than ever.

International Women’s Day 2019: Celebrating Ambitious Women

People across the world tomorrow are celebrating International Women’s Day, honoring the achievements and significance of all women.  Locally in Russia and most other countries in which Yandex operates, the holiday, often referred to as March 8th, is celebrated as a public holiday.  Throughout the week, members of the Yandex community have been celebrating their female colleagues with gifts and acknowledgements of their hard work.

At Yandex, we are honored to work with thousands of ambitious and talented women across our global offices and the entire tech ecosystem.  Today especially we thank you for all you do.  In honor of the holiday, we’re also celebrating the ambitions of the billions of women around the world.  As we take this day to acknowledge all that women have accomplished, we wanted to recognize the drive and determination of women to realize their goals.

One way we can see millions of women striving to reach their ambitions is through the search trends among our female users.  Especially for the formative young adult years, women across Russia are using the internet to advance their professional development.  We’re inspired to see millions of women searching for ways to teach themselves new languages, whether it be English and German or Python and Java.  Women are also using our search engine to solve complex IT problems, entering queries such as “how to parse JSON.”  Women are searching for information related to their studies as well, entering queries such as “phonetic parsing of words,” and many are asking about running a business by searching for resources such as business plan samples.

We admire women across the world who set out to achieve their personal and professional goals.  Today we wanted to highlight this by featuring a profile on Dasha, a young computer programmer in Russia who is just one of these driven women who has used the internet to help realize her ambitions.  

Like millions of other users, Dasha was seeking resources to grow.  “I worked in an office job for a few months before deciding I wanted to do something more engaging and work with like-minded people.  Web development has always fascinated me, so I began looking for ways to start a job in this field.”

Dasha went online to find resources for starting a career in web development.  Through her research, Dasha came across opportunities on Coursera, one of the leading platforms for online education, and began taking programming courses.  She took a class on HTML and Javascript offered by Yandex in partnership with the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology.  Within two months, Dasha taught herself the basics of web development through a course which typically takes around five months to complete.

Following her studies, Dasha started working in web programming, where her ambitions and independence continue to be essential assets.  “This field is growing rapidly, and the profession of a web developer encourages constant independent learning.  Also, front-end development has a creative component, which is a plus for me.  Absolutely everything I learned in the online courses was useful for me in my new profession."

Here at Yandex, we’re inspired by stories like Dasha’s where women are self-motivated to realize their ambitions.  To see young women like Dasha reaching their goals is just one reason Yandex is a strong supporter of education.  We offer many avenues for aspiring learners to follow in her footsteps with both online and offline opportunities:

  • Yandex’s Coursera lessons in data science and programming provide learners with the tools they need to become web development experts.
  • Master’s level students can enroll in the Yandex School of Data Analysis (YSDA), a free program in Computer Science and Data Analysis, with branches located in Russia, Belarus, and Israel.  
  • The Ilya Segalovich Award and Scholarship for students and researchers encourage study in computer science by recognizing academic achievement.
  • Yandex.Practicum (Russian), currently in testing, offers long-term, professional courses on web development for anyone interested in advancing their skills.

We enthusiastically encourage any women or men interested in learning new data science skills to take advantage of these educational resources, along with any others they may find online.  

Happy International Women’s Day from Yandex to the millions of women around the world who are taking the initiative to shape both their future and ours!

A Year of Yandex Self-Driving Milestones

At the beginning of 2018, the start of the second year of our self-driving program, we graduated from closed-track testing to autonomous driving on the public roads of Moscow.  Since then, we have made significant progress operating on the public streets of Russia, the United States, and Israel.  Here’s a look at our progress in the last year since we made our public debut. 

Public Roads & Winter Weather 

A year ago, in February 2018, we advanced our self-driving operation from closed test tracks to the public streets of Moscow.  The car successfully navigated the snow-covered roads of the city's Khamovniki district with a safety engineer in the driver's seat, managing pedestrians and traffic in fully autonomous mode.  As we continued operating the vehicles against public driving conditions in Moscow, the world’s second most congested city, we continued to fine-tune our software on features such as smoother stops and changing lanes on busier roads. 

Long Distance Drives

In the summer of 2018, we began testing our self-driving car for long-distance highway travel.   Most notably, during our testing, our vehicle completed a 780 kilometer (485 miles) trip on a federal highway from Moscow to Kazan.  Our self-driving car completed nearly the entire 11-hour ride (99%) in autonomous mode.  City traffic tests the car against more challenging conditions, but as we advance to the future of autonomous systems for public transportation and cargo shipping, long-distance travel will be an essential part of the future of self-driving.   

Robo-Taxi Programs

In August, we launched Europe’s first autonomous ride-hailing service in the tech hub of Innopolis, Russia.  Within a few months, we expanded the service to the Skolkovo district of Moscow.  This landmark achievement marked our first step integrating self-driving cars into Yandex’s ride-hailing service and is the first service of its kind in Europe with no one behind the driver’s wheel and a safety engineer in just the passenger seat.  The program serves as a critical early step in the proliferation of self-driving technology, as we see the general public embrace the technology for their daily routines.  To date, we have provided over 2,300 robo-taxi passenger rides between the two service locations, and the service has continued operating throughout the winter months.

Scalability & International Expansion

By the end of 2018, we started testing the scalability of our vehicles in new international driving environments.  In December 2018, the self-driving team spent two weeks retrofitting a car and two weeks mapping the public roads of Las Vegas in preparation for demos during CES 2019.   In addition to mapping the area, the team made small adjustments to the system to enable it to operate in a new setting - from setting the legal speed limits to adjusting for new dynamics such as yellow traffic lights that indicate yield in the US but an out-of-order light in Russia.  During the week of CES, we provided dozens of rides in our self-driving car with just a safety engineer in the front passenger seat. 

At the same time, we continued our expansion outside Russia to Tel Aviv, Israel, where the unique driving challenges there include narrow streets and heavy motorcycle and moped traffic. 

The Road Ahead

Since first venturing out to the public streets of Moscow last February, our self-driving program has reached many significant milestones in a short time.  We are proud of the team who drove the program to new heights and thankful to the members of the public who have been participating in the journey as well.  We look forward to even more achievements in 2019, as we continue in our goal of making autonomous vehicles an everyday part of people's lives.

To learn more about our work and opportunities to join our self-driving team, read on here.

Managing Subscriptions in Yandex.Mail with Machine Learning

Yandex.Mail has become one of the leading email platforms in Russia, with over 28 million active monthly users.  Today email acts as one of the main tools we use to organize our lives, from online purchases to booking travel and paying bills.  Through emails, we also discover new information, but often our inboxes can get overwhelmed with content and subscriptions.

Each Yandex.Mail user has on average 50 subscriptions.  To help users better manage their emails, the Yandex.Mail team developed a new feature that more easily manages and filters users’ unwanted subscription emails.  Yandex has integrated machine learning algorithms into the platform to determine which emails are coming from subscription services and can tell which emails from the same sender are relevant to users.  The user can decide which subscriptions they want to hide from their inbox by selecting multiple senders and hiding their messages with one click.  Along with no longer receiving future subscription emails from the hidden senders, users can also opt to delete all past messages from them.  The feature will help Yandex.Mail users easily remove clutter from their inboxes on both desktop and mobile versions of Yandex.Mail.

The smart algorithms powering Yandex.Mail detect and organize potentially important emails from the same senders that are sending messages to a mailing list.  Emails that include content such as bills, order information, and booking details will still be delivered to one’s inbox even if the user has already hidden newsletters or promotional emails from the same source.  The algorithms learn from a combination of semantic factors like keywords and user responses to prompts asking whether an email is a marketing newsletter. The algorithms are powered by a mix of technologies, including Yandex’s CatBoost and other open-source ML algorithms tuned for classification.

“Unsubscribing from all mailing lists takes time and effort.  By integrating a new ML-powered feature for quickly filtering subscriptions, we offer users an easy solution to improve this issue,” says Ilya Vorobiev, Senior Product Manager of Yandex.Mail.  “We are always striving to provide users with a high-quality experience. Through a testing period, we offered the feature to a select group of Yandex.Mail users and found the feature greatly improved their email experience.  On average, each user opted out of 38 subscriptions and reduced the volume of their incoming mail by 28%.  Of the users who hid subscriptions with the new feature, 60% decided to also delete the old subscription emails.”

Yandex.Mail organizes an active subscription list and users can mark a box next to each sender to hide subscriptions.  The user is also given the option to delete old emails from the mailing lists that they opted to hide.  Clicking on the email addresses in the list will show the user all emails from that sender.  The user can also see from which addresses emails are hidden, and at any time can reactivate these subscriptions.

The new smart feature in Yandex.Mail helps users manage their emails more efficiently.  Yandex.Mail also offers users other features to help them manage their inbox, such as a tool to schedule emails, unlimited online storage, and built-in integration with Yandex.Translate on the web app.  Users can access their Yandex.Mail accounts through the web app, iOS and Android apps, or through the email client of their choosing with support for POP and IMAP access.  Yandex.Mail mobile app users can also access email accounts from other email services.

The subscription management tool is currently available to most Yandex.Mail users and will roll out to all users in the coming days.

Yandex Introduces the Ilya Segalovich Award in Computer Science

Yandex is thrilled to announce a new annual award for students and faculty in computer science and related fields, named after Ilya Segalovich, Yandex co-founder and creator of Yandex search.  This award honors Ilya’s commitment to supporting education and his philanthropic pursuits and introduces a new Yandex education initiative to encourage the study of computer science.

The Ilya Segalovich Award recognizes academic achievement and research contributing to technological advancements in areas relevant to Yandex.  These fields include speech recognition and speech synthesis, information search and data analysis, machine learning, computer vision, and natural language processing and machine translation.

The award is open to graduate or postgraduate students and academic advisors in computer science fields at institutions in Russia, Belarus or Kazakhstan.  Students can directly apply for the award, while academic advisors must be nominated.  An award committee composed of members of the Yandex management team and top machine learning experts will consider the quality of candidates’ published work to select winners.

"Yandex has always strongly valued education in computer science," says Arkady Volozh, CEO and co-founder of Yandex.  "We believe education in the field will continue to be central to the advancement of AI and delivering intelligent products and services to users everywhere.  With this award, we want to support researchers who, like us, are engaged in computer science and are inspired to build the technologies of the future.  We named the award after Ilya to honor his commitment to progress and his achievements supporting the IT community."

Ilya Segalovich

The Ilya Segalovich Award follows another Yandex initiative to recognize Ilya’s passion for education, the Ilya Segalovich Scholarship.  Established in 2014, this scholarship supports computer science students at the National Research University Higher School of Economics in Moscow.  Yandex has also partnered with HSE to establish the Faculty of Computer Science, which trains developers, analysts, and researchers in data analysis and software engineering.  

These two academic awards represent just part of Yandex’s commitment to education, a key part of which includes Yandex.Lyceum for secondary students and the Yandex School of Data Analysis (YSDA).  YSDA is a Master’s level program in computer science and data analysis that Ilya helped establish in 2007 together with Arkady Volozh, and pattern recognition specialist, Ilya Muchnik.  YSDA graduates and Yandex professionals regularly advance the computer science field with their contributions of published articles, and their expertise is key to powering Yandex’s intelligent products and services.

Students at the first Ilya Segalovich Scholarship ceremony in 2015

The Ilya Segalovich Award Committee will award a total of up to 15 million rubles (about $230,000) to thirteen winners.  Student awardees will receive 350,000 rubles ($5,300), a grant to travel to an international conference on artificial intelligence, and an internship opportunity at Yandex that includes a professional mentorship.  Academic advisors will receive 700,000 rubles ($10,600).  The application deadline is the end of February, and the award ceremony will take place in Moscow this spring.

Yandex Self-Driving Car Gives First Rides in the US

Last week, Yandex’s self-driving car navigated the public streets of Las Vegas during CES 2019 without an operator behind the steering wheel.  Our car safely delivered dozens of passengers to and from the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino to demonstrate the latest advancements of our self-driving technology and the scalability to operate the vehicle against new traffic conditions in Las Vegas.

Starting in late November, the Yandex team retrofitted a Toyota Prius with an array of radars, lidars, and cameras that interpret the world around the car.  Radars are located in the front and rear bumpers, the lidars are on the roof, and five cameras mounted around the car capture 360-degree video.  The combined sensors can identify objects within a 200-meter radius of the car.  This incoming information is processed by the custom-built computer that sits in the trunk of the car, which runs on proprietary software built by our team.

Passengers could see the car processing the world around it on two tablets, one mounted on the dashboard by the safety engineer and the other on the center console for rear passengers.  Passengers were able to track the car in real-time on a high-definition map of the streets it was traversing, including the planned and possible routes of the vehicle in addition to 3D models of vehicles, pedestrians, and dynamic icons of traffic lights.

During the two week period mapping and planning the demo route, the Yandex self-driving team also coded a few adjustments to allow the vehicle to safely operate in the local traffic conditions.  For instance, the team made adjustments for the appearance of the lanes on the local streets and to properly yield to traffic at blinking yellow lights.

The passengers experienced the car yielding to cars and pedestrians on unprotected left-hand turns, changing lanes on a four-lane road at the 45 mph speed limit, and reading traffic lights with the onboard cameras.  While we provided rides on predefined routes to demonstrate the car against different challenges, the car could travel between any two points in the mapped area.

Each ride we provided to passengers proved to be a unique experience and another important step towards the development of self-driving technologies.  Thanks to everyone on the Yandex team and all of our first passengers in the U.S. who helped make our self-driving car’s first drives outside Russia a resounding success!  We look forward to doing more with our self-driving technologies in the U.S. in the future.

Check out a video below of tech YouTuber MKBHD taking a driverless ride in our self-driving car during CES 2019.

Yandex on the “Sovereign Internet Law”

In December 2018, the State Duma, Russia’s lower house of parliament, introduced a bill known as the “Sovereign Internet Law” (officially bill №608767-7). On January 17th, the bill was discussed in the Duma together with representatives of several Russia-based Internet companies, including Yandex. Following the meeting, sources in the media reported that Yandex supported the draft law.  We want to take the opportunity to explain in English how we view this proposal.

Yandex supports the overarching principle behind the bill, as stated within its explanatory note, “to ensure long-term and steadfast operation of the Internet in Russia, to increase reliability of Russian Internet resources.” Internet service providers and other internet companies are constantly working to improve the reliability of their services. Our users are our top priority and we conceptually support ensuring that they would continue to have access to Yandex and other useful services in the event of a major Internet shutdown. Our ecosystem of products and services serve as critical online tools that help the local Internet users navigate their daily routines.  

However, as the draft law is currently presented, there are no clear definitions of which threats to the local Internet are being addressed by the proposed bill. Yandex believes that without clearly defined threats to the local Internet, it is difficult at this stage to design or propose any protection mechanisms.  Yandex does not support the current version of this proposed law. We will continue to evaluate the progress of the bill throughout the legislative process.