Finnish energy companies refuse to supply ‘Russia’s Google’

The data centre, which has been operational since 2015, is located in the town of Mäntsälä, some 50 kilometres north of Helsinki. It is the only one located in the west, as the others are situated in Russia.  Since 2015, its waste heat contributed to around 75% of the area’s district heating. [Shutterstock/Ascannio]

Finnish electricity companies are refusing to sign electricity contracts with Russian search engine Yandex, which has a data centre near Helsinki, due to suspicions it may be distributing war propaganda.

The data centre, which has been operational since 2015, is located in the town of Mäntsälä, some 50 kilometres north of Helsinki. It is the only one located in the west, as the others are situated in Russia.  Since 2015, its waste heat contributed to around 75% of the area’s district heating.

However, the company’s CEO was put on a sanctions list in March, after which he resigned. The company itself has not been sanctioned.

But Finnish electricity suppliers have ended their agreements, and Yandex has not yet found a new provider. Since the end of April, the data centre has relied on a diesel generator and has been cut off from Finland’s grid.

Yandex “will do its best to find a new partner to help us continue” and that “there are a few options that we’re still pursuing actively,” the data centre operations Chief Alexei Zhumykin told broadcaster YLE in an interview. According to him, Finland remains an excellent place for a Russian company to operate.

However, Yandex’s credibility and reputation may be tarnished for good after it was revealed that Finnish authorities are looking at the company as a possible fake news distributor.

Communications Minister Timo Harakka (SDP) admitted to YLE that “Yandex is being closely monitored.”

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