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Russia Considers Ban of Over U.S. Sanctions

Luca Conti / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Russia’s Culture Ministry has ordered the federal tourism agency to look into banning the popular website as part of countermeasures against the latest U.S. sanctions.

Russian tour operator Svoi TS asked to ban, TripAdvisor and Airbnb after the United States imposed sweeping sanctions against some of Russia’s biggest firms and businessmen for "malign activities,” the online outlet reported in April.

This week, the Culture Ministry instructed Russia’s Rosturism agency “to consider a proposal to ban the activities of in Russia” by June 4, the RBC business portal reported on Tuesday.

“No Russian tour operator can compare with,” RBC quoted head of Svoi TS Sergei Voytovich as saying.

The potential ban would prohibit customers from using to book hotels in Russia, he was cited as saying.

Users in Russia accounted for the highest share of’s traffic in the world, according to the SimilarWeb ranking service.

Svoy TS’s Voitovych has developed several services that seek to compete with, the Bell news website reported.

The tour operator signed at least five contracts with Rosturism in the past two years to advertise Russian tourism abroad, raising potential conflict of interest concerns.

Meanwhile, the Culture Ministry’s tourism and regional development department said it does not plan to ban or regulate its activities within Russia.

“Moreover, the department is categorically against posing the question in those terms,” its head Olga Yarilova said in an online statement Wednesday.

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