MOSCOW — Russian opposition activists said Google had taken down videos and documents they were using to organize a protest vote in this weekend’s elections, the latest sign of rising pressure from the Kremlin on American internet giants.
The actions by Google in response to government demands involved blocking access inside Russia to several YouTube and Google Docs links being used by allies of the imprisoned opposition leader Aleksei A. Navalny to coordinate protest voting in each of the country’s 225 electoral districts, said the activists, members of Mr. Navalny’s team. On Friday, Google and Apple removed the activist group’s protest-voting app after Russian officials threatened to prosecute the American companies’ employees inside the country.
Google did not immediately respond on Sunday to a request for comment.
“This content is not available in this country domain due to a legal complaint from the government,” a YouTube message says when users in Russia try to open the blocked videos.
Russian elections are not free and fair, and videos appearing to show ballot stuffing and other types of fraud during the three-day vote that started Friday have circulated on social media. Despite slumping approval ratings, United Russia, the governing party of President Vladimir V. Putin, was certain to be declared the victor after polls closed.
Nevertheless, Mr. Navalny’s allies have been hoping to use a tactic they call “smart voting” to deliver a rebuke to Mr….