Opera, the Norwegian browser developer, has announced that it is to shut down its Russian office at the end of November, citing poor revenues from the operation. However, there may be deeper reasons for the rather hurried exit.
The local new agency RIA Novosti published a speculative piece suggesting that the company may have been challenged by internet regulator Roskomnadzor over its latest Opera 40 software, which apparently makes virtual private network technology available – popular with Netizens seeking work-arounds on internet censorships blocks, which are not uncommon in Russia.
This penchant for internet censorship has resulted in an estimated 40 percent of Opera's 55 million users deploying the browser from countries within the Russian Federation, according to claims made when the browser was the subject of an acquisition deal between the Norwegian developer and a Chinese conglomerate – scheduled to complete late 2017.
Other sources put the number of CIS users at 9 million.