Russian Netflix Users Sue Streaming Service Over Boycott

by Shelby Scott
(Photo Illustration by Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Russia has faced unprecedented international sanctions since launching its invasion of Ukraine in February. In addition, numerous companies have condemned Russia’s advance into the European nation. Plenty have boycotted the war by removing access to various services from the Russian people. However, now, after Netflix suspended services in Russia last month, users have filed a class-action lawsuit against the streaming service giant.

What to Know:

  • Netflix has roughly one million subscribers
  • Russian Netflix users filed a lawsuit against the streaming service after it suspended services in March
  • The lawsuit claims Netflix has violated users’ rights in addition to multiple national codes and laws

Netflix Faces Backlash From Russian Citizens Amid International Conflict

Netflix isn’t the only streaming service to suspend Russian services. However, it seems to be the only one enduring a class-action lawsuit.

According to Variety, Netflix not only suspended its services for Russian users last month. The renowned streaming service also paused all projects in and acquisitions from Russia. The outlet reports the company also refused to air 20 free-to-air Russian channels on its platform. Reportedly, Netflix had been required to host the channels under Russian law.

Combined, the suspension has seen 20 people congregate to take legal action against Netflix. Variety reports 20 is the minimum number of individuals required to back a class-action suit. The lawsuit against the streaming service sees support from about 100 more individuals, all looking to join the suit.

Altogether, Netflix has attracted about one million subscribers since the streaming service launched for Russian users in 2016. As per the outlet, a Russian subscription to Netflix costs 799 rubles, the equivalent to a little less than ten American dollars.

Lawsuit Plaintiffs Claim Netflix Violated Multiple Rights & Obligations

As per the news outlet, the plaintiffs, represented by the Russian firm, Chernyshov, Lukoyanov and Partners, claims that Netflix, upon launching its services in the country several years ago, “entered a public contract with subscribers that does not provide for the possibility of unilateral refusal to fulfill obligations.”

That said, the streaming service’s suspension in Russia reportedly violates users’ rights. The outlet further reported Netflix’s abandonment of services in Russia constitutes a violation of the Russian Federation’s civil code as well as consumer rights laws.

Reparations for Netflix’s violation are as follows. Altogether, the plaintiffs filing the lawsuit seek the Russian equivalent of approximately $730,000 in non-pecuniary damages—damages that are not essentially economic in nature but still affect an individual’s standard of living.

In addition, the firm aims to launch a fine against Netflix on behalf of Russian users equal to half of the amount awarded by the court.

The overall outcome of the lawsuit is dependent upon whether or not Netflix loses the case to its Russian users, or refuses to comply with the findings of the court.