The Yandex Xmas Blues

A Yandex Eats courier schlepping the service’s instantly recognizable backpack

The trade union Courier called for Yandex food delivery workers to strike from December 20 to December 25.

The workers claim that their situation has deteriorated considerably since Yandex took over Delivery Club and subsequently monopolized the industry. The union said that couriers are constantly discriminated against through a rigid system of fines and a lack of legal guarantees.

Supporters of the strike demand a return to the practice of drawing up regular employment contracts between management and couriers instead of independent contractor and self-employment contracts. They also insist on reinstating the order fee in the amount of 110 rubles, revising the system of fines, and reducing the delivery range for foot couriers to three kilometers.

In addition, they have demanded the release of the head of the trade union, Kirill Ukraintsev, who was arrested in April for violating the law on protest rallies.

The first stage of the strike is planned for Moscow and St. Petersburg; in the capital, about 600 couriers may not go to work. The trade union has called for Yandex Taxi drivers to join the action, as well as blocking the cash desks of restaurants.

Citing the Yandex Eats press service, Kommersant writes that the company is unaware of any dissatisfaction with working conditions. At the same time, the press service emphasizes that the average salary of couriers increased by 30% over the past year.

Late last year, Yandex couriers protested in Kemerovo. In April 2022, dissatisfaction among delivery workers was caused by a 20% reduction in wages, prompting talk of a possible strike. Denying the problems voiced, Yandex has constantly reported about bonuses for its couriers, including life and health insurance and improved working conditions.

Source: Andrei Gorelikov, “Yandex couriers go on strike — so far, for five days in Moscow and Petersburg,” Rabota.ru, 21 December 2022. Photo courtesy of Rabota.ru via iStock. Translated by TRR


During the company’s weekly open video call (these events are dubbed “hurals”) on the morning of Friday, December 23, a Yandex executive informed staffers that its security service had tracked down an employee who had been in contact with editors at The Village for an article about how censorship works at Yandex News. The employee would be fired, he said. Thus, it had taken the company a mere seventeen hours to trace one of our sources. Yandex does not make public comments.

Yesterday, The Village published a major investigation by journalist Andrei Serafimov detailing how, after the start of the war, a group of developers at Yandex made it their mission prove the existence of censorship at Yandex News, the service that, for over a decade, has provided millions of Russians with their “picture of the day.” The service handpicked the “top stories” from the media that would be shown on Yandex’s main page.

Journalists had previously surmised that only news from handpicked, government-approved media outlets made it on the Yandex main page: even the former head of Yandex News had said that there was a “whitelist” of such outlets. Our investigation has shown, for the first time, what these whitelists (both Moscow and national) look like. In conversation with former and current Yandex employees who have been researching the way Yandex News is coded, we found out which news outlets have a chance to be featured in the “picture of the day,” as well as how the “trusted” algorithm works. Presumably, it marks “pre-approved” media that are never “penalized for headlines.” These fifteen outlets contribute the vast majority of the top national news stories featured on Yandex News.

In addition, our sources told us what happened inside the company after the start of the war, after the publication of an investigation by Meduza in the spring, and what the first “hural” looked like in early December after Alexei Kudrin was appointed head of the “Russian” Yandex.

We recommend that you read the full investigation and share it on social media, as well as purchase a subscription —this is the only way we can publish more such stories. The Village receives no grants and does not collaborate with any national government.

Source: “Yandex fired employee who revealed how censorship is practiced at Yandex.News because he had been talking to The Village,” The Village, 23 December 2022. Translated by TRR

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s