Feeds

Rejoice, Russians! The annexation of Crimea is complete and legitimate – Google Maps proves it

Ukrainians and everyone else ... ssssh!

Security for virtualized datacentres

Google appears to have sided with Vladimir Putin in the current sovereignty dispute over the Crimean Peninsula – at least as far as residents of Russia are concerned.

The online ad giant has made an update to its Google Maps of the region that denotes the border between Crimea and Ukraine as a bold, black line – seemingly indicating that we should no longer think of the peninsula as part of the Ukraine.

The catch is that the "corrected" map is only visible when you visit maps.google.ru.

When you visit Google Maps from most other regions of the world, you'll see a different version of the same map, one in which the Crimea-Ukraine border is delineated with a bold but dotted line, indicating its disputed status.

The Independent newspaper was the first to spot the change and suggested it was the result of direct pressure from the Putin administration.

Screenshot of Crimea as seen on Google Maps Russia

In Russia, at least, Google Maps has drawn a hard line between Crimea and Ukraine (click to enlarge)

According to a report in the English-language Moscow Times newspaper in March, Anatoly Sidyakin, a politician in the lower house of the Russian Federal Assembly, asked the Federal Mass Media Inspection Service to "evaluate" foreign websites – including Google Maps, Bing Maps, and Wikipedia, among others – for labeling Crimea as disputed territory.

Screenshot of Crimea as seen on Google Maps US

Online cartophiles in the rest of the world, however, see a different picture (click to enlarge)

At the time, Russian search engine Yandex had reportedly already "decided" to show Crimea as part of Russia for Russian visitors, although it still showed it as Ukrainian territory to Ukrainians.

In the past, the Mass Media Inspection Service has blocked sites that contain what it deems objectionable material, including "calls for unsanctioned acts of protest," often without warning.

In a statement, a spokesperson for Google Maps said, "Google Maps makes every effort to depict disputed regions and features objectively. Our Maps product reflects border disputes, where applicable. Where we have local versions, we follow local regulations for naming and borders." ®

Business security measures using SSL

More from The Register

next story
Hey, Scots. Microsoft's Bing thinks you'll vote NO to independence
World's top Google-finding website calls it for the UK
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Apple CEO Tim Cook: TV is TERRIBLE and stuck in the 1970s
The iKing thinks telly is far too fiddly and ugly – basically, iTunes
Huawei ditches new Windows Phone mobe plans, blames poor sales
Giganto mobe firm slams door shut on Microsoft. OH DEAR
Phones 4u website DIES as wounded mobe retailer struggles to stay above water
Founder blames 'ruthless network partners' for implosion
Found inside ISIS terror chap's laptop: CELINE DION tunes
REPORT: Stash of terrorist material found in Syria Dell box
OECD lashes out at tax avoiding globocorps' location-flipping antics
You hear that, Amazon, Google, Microsoft et al?
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet
Explores the current state of website security and the contributions Symantec is making to help organizations protect critical data and build trust with customers.