Less than a week after Russian president Vladimir Putin ordered troops into Ukraine, Netflix has refused to comply with a broadcast rule requiring that the service carry state propaganda. “Given the current situation, we have no plans to add these channels to our service,” a Netflix spokesperson told Vulture today. Netflix was added to Russia’s Roskomnadzor — a regulatory body overseeing “audio-visual services” over a certain size — in December, which triggered the rule that it offer 20 “must-carry,” free-to-air propaganda channels in the news, sports, and entertainment categories. One of the channels, for example, is Spas, a station operated by the Russian Orthodox Church. Another, Channel One, has close ties to the Kremlin. The rule, locally called the “Vitrina.TV law,” was to take effect tomorrow, March 1.
Netflix’s international business in Russia is relatively new, having launched local service in the country less than a year ago, and it’s unclear what comes next for the service in the country. Estimates currently put Russia’s Netflix subscriber count at less than 1 million. What happens to those customers’ feeds — whether it’s a blackout or a shutdown of Netflix’s business in Russia entirely — is still to be determined. In the United States, Netflix carries titles such as Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom, an Academy Award–nominated documentary about the Euromaidan protests that led to Ukraine’s Revolution of Dignity against Russian hegemony. And remarkably, the film is available on Netflix in Russia, too. For now.