Google Play Store won't let you pay to use Russian apps any more

(Image credit: Shutterstock / Aleksandra Gigowska)

The war in Ukraine will soon stop Russian Android developers from getting paid for their work. As part of the sanctioning effort from the West, users will no longer be able to pay for commercial Android apps built by Russian developers, nor will they be able to update these apps, Google has said.

In an announcement published on the Play Console website, Google noted that as part of its, "compliance efforts", Google Play will be blocking the downloading of paid apps and updates to paid apps in Russia from May 5, 2022.

Free apps are exempt from this rule, meaning users will still be able to download and update them. Commercial apps, however, will automatically be blocked, Google said.

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Tougher sanctions for the invasion

In the accompanying FAQ, the company says developers can still have their commercial apps downloaded and used, by offering grace periods and free trials for new users. Deferring renewals for up to a year is also an option, Google says, as that will allow the users to keep using the apps without being charged.

"If you wish, you can choose to offer your app for free or remove your paid subscription during this pause," Google says.

The move comes exactly two months since Google paused its Google Play billing system in the country. On March 10, it prevented people from buying apps, paying for subscriptions, or making in-app purchases, as part of the sanctions imposed by the west.

Roughly two weeks later, Russia responded by banning Google News in the country, and blocking access to “”.

Western countries have imposed strong sanctions against Russia, for its invasion of its south-western neighbor, Ukraine. The country’s banks have been banned from the SWIFT payment network, as well as from services such as Apple Pay, or Google Pay. Most of the largest tech companies, such as Facebook, Twitter, Microsoft, and many others, have since pulled out from the country. 

Sead Fadilpašić

Sead is a seasoned freelance journalist based in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovina. He writes about IT (cloud, IoT, 5G, VPN) and cybersecurity (ransomware, data breaches, laws and regulations). In his career, spanning more than a decade, he’s written for numerous media outlets, including Al Jazeera Balkans. He’s also held several modules on content writing for Represent Communications.