Chess champion Garry Kasparov condemns Apple's Crimea map change

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Garry Kasparov with chess pieces

Ex-world chess champion Garry Kasparov has joined the growing condemnation of Apple’s decision to show Crimea as a Russian territory on its maps.

In a tweet, the Russian grandmaster called it a “huge scandal” and “unacceptable appeasement”.

Ukrainian foreign minister Vadym Prystaiko tweeted: “Apple, please stick to hi-tech and entertainment. Global politics is not your strong side.”

The firm is yet to comment on its decision.

The changes were announced by the State Duma, Russian parliament’s lower house, in a statement, which described the former listing as an “inaccuracy”.

“Crimea and Sevastopol now appear on Apple devices as Russian territory,” the statement read.

Apple Map showing Crimea
Image captionApple Maps does not show a border between Crimea and Russia, to the east

Russia treats the naval port city of Sevastopol as a separate region.

The changes, which apply only in Russia, affect both Apple’s Map and Weather apps.

Apple has been in talks with Russia for several months and had hoped to keep Crimea as an undefined territory, part of neither Russia nor Ukraine.

Google, which also produces a popular Maps app, also shows Crimea as belonging to Russia when viewed from the country. The changes happened in March.

When Google Maps is viewed from Ukraine, the maps show no clear border between Crimea and Ukraine but also no border between Crimea and Russia, according to BBC Monitoring.

Garry Kasparov’s tweet read: “Apple changing its maps inside Russia to make Crimea part of Russia is a huge scandal. Regionalisation of facts is unacceptable appeasement.”

He added: “Software is soft power. American tech companies should stand up for the values of innovation that made their success possible, not bow down to dictators for a little extra cash they don’t even need.”

Apple ‘boycott’

Meanwhile Mr Prystaiko said: “Let me explain in your terms, @Apple. Imagine you’re crying out that your design and ideas, years of work and piece of your heart are stolen by your worst enemy but then smb [somebody] ignorant doesn’t give a damn about your pain. That’s how it feels when you call #Crimea a Russian land.”

Ukraine’s US embassy was equally critical on Twitter.

“We guess Ukrainians not giving any thanks to @Apple this #Thanksgiving. So let’s all remind Apple that #CrimeaIsUkraine and it is under Russian occupation – not its sovereignty,” it tweeted.

Former Ukrainian foreign minister Volodymyr Ohryzko suggested that a boycott of Apple products might be one way to deal with issue.

“Trust me, they will hear [us] quickly. And will change everything quickly. Are there volunteers?” he asked on Twitter.

But popular blogger Anton Hodza, while outraged, took a more light-hearted approach.

“Apple’s actions are a disgrace. We need to show them that we are outraged. Send me your iPhones, MacBooks and iPads. I will burn them, honestly.”

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