Russian-speaking users have accused Airbnb of discrimination after the housing rental company officially suspended operations in Russia and Belarus on Tuesday, denying service to travelers from both countries.
Airbnb is among more than 600 companies that have announced their withdrawal from Russia amid a massive corporate exodus since its February 24 invasion of Ukraine, according to Yale.
“Guests located in Russia or Belarus will not be able to make new reservations on Airbnb,” the company said in a statement Tuesday.
Russian and Belarusian nationals located outside of their respective countries will also not be able to use the platform, the statement said.
“Guests from around the world will no longer be able to make new bookings for stays or experiences in Russia or Belarus,” he added.
But while Russians’ international travel options have been significantly limited over the past month due to mutual airspace bans with the West, users have still been vocal in their criticism of the Airbnb’s new policy.
Many critics have pointed out that banning Airbnb will deprive Russians and Belarusians who have fled their country of a way to find accommodation.
“I don’t support war, I support Ukraine. I understand why you don’t want to work with Russian money. But blocking users because of a passport is too much,” one reviewer said. in English which awarded the company a star on the Apple App Store.
“Racism and discrimination is your real face,” wrote another reviewer.
Others have complained of not being able to get refunds after canceling their reservations, according to screenshots from the Google Play Store. share by the Baza Telegram channel.
“It seems to me that this service took our money and left Russia. I really don’t recommend it. Thieves,” wrote one disgruntled user.
Angry users accused Airbnb of ‘ethnic discrimination’ and ‘fascism’, screenshots show provided by broadcaster RTVI.
“How can we talk about tolerance and the fight against discrimination when we block people simply because of their nationality? one asked.
Airbnb CEO Bian Chesky announced that the popular service will withdraw from Russia and Belarus on March 4.