Apple has recently bowed to Russian pressure and started showing the Crimea on its maps as Russian territory.
“Weltkarte: Bei Apple ist die Krim jetzt russisch; Russland fordert von großen Internetkonzernen seit Langem, die Schwarzmeer-Halbinsel Krim als russisches und nicht als ukrainisches oder autonomes Gebiet zu markieren. Apple ist dem nun nachgekommen – zumindest teilweise,” Spiegel Online, 27 November 2019 (22:22 Uhr).
“Apple changes Crimea map to meet Russian demands,” BBC.com, November 27, 2019.
“Apple verandert landkaarten en toont de Krim als onderdeel van Rusland,” NU (Netherlands), 27 November 2019 (17:04).
According to the article in Der Spiegel, Apple is showing the Crimea as Russian territory only in Russia.
For the position of the United States, see
“Ongoing Violations of International Law and Defiance of OSCE Principles and Commitments by the Russian Federation in Ukraine,” Remarks delivered by U.S. Deputy Chief of Mission Harry Kamian to the the Permanent Council of the Organization for Secdurity and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), Vienna, November 21, 2019.
Mr. Kamian, after addressing the situation in the eastern Ukriane, concluded his remarks as follows:
Mr. Chair, the United States fully supports Ukraine’s sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity within its internationally recognized borders, including its territorial waters. We do not, nor will we ever, recognize Russia’s purported annexation of Crimea. We join our European and other partners in affirming that our Minsk-related sanctions against Russia will remain in place until Russia fully implements its Minsk commitments. The separate, Crimea-related sanctions will remain in place until Russia returns full control of the peninsula to Ukraine.
One Truth, or many?
Apple’s craven surrender to the demands of Rusian propaganda, raises a question of fundamental importance for the future of international relations.
Are we to let individual countries dictate to internet companies which truth they must adopt in order to operate in their territories, or are we to establish and defend the principle that there is only one Truth.
The truth is that Russia invaded the Crimea by military force in February and March 2014 and purported to annex this Ukrainian territory in violation of the most fundamental norms of international law and the United Nations Charter. These norms are mandatory law or jus cogens, norms from which there can be no derogation by agreement.
If we were to accept Apple’s actions, the next thing we might see is that Apple maps and other apps–at least as seen in the People’s Republic of China, will show the entire South China Sea to be Chinese territory.
Apple’s excuse is that they are required to do what they have done by local law.
The immediate solution should be to pass a U.S. law which adds Apple to the Ukraine Crimea sanctions list if it continues to display maps of the Crimea–even if limited to Russia–as sovereign territory of the Russian Federation.
There can be but one standard of Truth if we are to adhere to the truth in the world, and prevent American companies from becoming propaganda mouthpieces for autocratic dictatorships like Russia. If there is a dispute, the maps should be guided by International Law, with whatever explanatory footnotes the publishers may wish to add, provided they explain their use of international law to guide their use of nomenclature.
The Trenchant Observer