Apple, Bowing to Russian Pressure, Recognizes Crimea Annexation on Map

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Photo credits: CRIMSON TAZVINZWA

MOSCOW — Since it grabbed Crimea from Ukraine five years ago, Russia has made no headway in getting the United States or the European Union to recognize the annexed Black Sea peninsula as Russian

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But Russia’s Parliament is now rejoicing at getting at least Apple to fall partly into line. When viewed from inside Russia, Apple apps show Crimea as part of the Russian Federation and separated from Ukraine by an international border.

Credit…Alexey Pavlishak/Reuters

This means that Apple has joined Google, Yandex and some other technology companies in redrawing Ukraine’s borders to satisfy Moscow’s territorial claims, at least for customers viewing their maps on devices inside Russia. Viewed on devices outside Russia, Crimea remains part of Ukraine.

Unlike printed maps, online cartography can shift, providing alternative realities to comfort the likely political leanings of the viewer and the policies of his or her government. This means that borders over which armies and diplomats have battled for centuries are no longer entirely static but often follow a course that exists only in the eye of the beholder.

“Our situation with Apple has now been resolved,” Vasily Piskaryov, the chairman of the security and anticorruption committee of the State Duma, Russia’s lower house of Parliament, said on Wednesday. “We see that everything has happened the way we wanted it.”

Mr. Piskaryov told the Interfax news agency that his committee would continue to monitor Apple apps to ensure “there is no going back” to previous maps that showed Crimea as part of Ukraine or as a territory belonging to neither Russia nor Ukraine.

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