Back in March, Google announced that it is "pausing" its Google Play billing systems in Russia due to a disruption in payment systems as many companies pulled out of the country. At that time, it requested developers to make critical paid apps free to guarantee continuation of uninterrupted and necessary services. Now, Google has gone a step further in this process.
Starting from late last week, it has banned Russian users and global developers from downloading or updating paid applications, respectively, from the Play Store. Free apps are exempt from these sanctions. It's unclear what has led to Google taking this step but the company has hinted at "compliance efforts", which likely means obeying sanctions.
Of course, the workaround for this block is still that developers make their apps free or grant grace periods in the billing of subscriptions. However, this is completely up to the discretion of developers distributing apps in Russia.
On the hardware side of things, Russia is already dodging western sanctions by legalizing gray imports, but the situation is arguably trickier when it comes to software and digital rights management (DRM). The country had previously announced plans to launch its Play Store alternative dubbed NashStore, it's expected to kick off alpha testing today.