Russian subscribers suing Netflix over suspended service

Due to the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine, many companies have suspended their business in Russia, halting operations in retaliation for the atrocities committed by Vladimir Putin and the Russian military. One of those companies is the streaming giant Netflix, which stopped its streaming service and halted all Russian originating productions and further acquisitions. Russian subscribers to the platform are not happy and are now suing Netflix in a class-action lawsuit.

According to a local news agency RIA, the subscribers are represented by the law firm Chernyshov, Lukoyanov & Partners with the Khamovnichesky district court of Moscow, which released a statement reading, “The reason for the lawsuit was a violation of Russian users’ rights due to Netflix’s unilateral refusal to provide services in Russia.” The subscribers are looking for compensation of 60 million roubles ($724,000) for the loss of access to Netflix’s content.

The streaming giant has over 220 million subscribers globally, with only 1 million in Russia. Russian subscribers pay 599-799 roubles ($7.28-$9.71) a month to access the wealth of content, including Netflix original series such as Bridgerton and Stranger Things, as well as movies such as The Adam Project and Don’t Look Up, which are now unavailable to them.

Netflix previously refused to carry 20 Russian free-to-air channels back in February due to concerns over Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine. Streaming service providers were told to add the channels in a new law that would be implemented on March 1, at the time, Netflix responded, “given the current situation, we have no plans to add these channels to our service.”

Russia had also already been restricting access to social media such as Facebook and Instagram and has now completely banned the platforms citing the parent company, Meta, to be “extremist.” This came after the company claimed it was relaxing its rules on hate speech aimed toward Putin and the Russian military, but it has since said this is only if the hate speech originates in Ukraine.

Putin has seen much more resistance than anticipated from the people of Ukraine, but he has recently said he will continue with the invasion until the “noble aims” are met, according to a recent report from the BBC.