Russia bans purchases of foreign infrastructure software • The Register


Russian President Vladimir Putin has banned the purchase of foreign software – whether standalone applications or sending code into equipment – ​​for major critical infrastructure projects, with a few exceptions.

From now on, organizations must obtain approval before they can buy foreign software for this level of infrastructure. Putin also banned state agencies and other clients from using foreign software from January 1, 2025, in an effort to promote Russia’s technological independence.

The new rules are set out in Order No. 166 [PDF]which was signed by Putin on Wednesday, March 30, 2022 and takes effect on Thursday, March 31, 2022. The order is titled “On Measures to Ensure the Technological Independence and Security of the Federation’s Critical Information Infrastructure of Russia”.

The directive goes on to ask Russian government agencies to clarify within a month their software requirements related to major critical infrastructure and adopt rules to approve the purchase of necessary foreign software.

It also asks the Russian government to form a group focused on the development, production and maintenance of trusted software and hardware for critical infrastructure projects. And it gives the government six months to adopt measures: that promote the use of national radio and telecommunications equipment for critical infrastructure sites; and which establish a monitoring and control regime, in addition to ensuring that qualified personnel are available to manage the intended trusted technology.

Some foreign software has already become scarce in Russia after many US and European tech companies suspended sales in protest against Russia’s war on Ukraine. The February 24, 2022 Russian invasion and subsequent international sanctions prompted major Western companies to suspend operations in the country or, at a minimum, serve only existing customers.

Separately, Russia will allow “parallel imports” – the import of products without the permission of the brand owner – in response to global brands that have withdrawn their products in protest, or if not for moral reasons, at least to dodge social media.

In a televised meeting on Wednesday, Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin said the goal of embracing gray market products was to satisfy Russian demand for brands that cannot be sold in the country without permission from the license holder. rights.

According to Reuters, Russia’s Federal Antimonopoly Service said the rules it drafted will help promote competition and lower prices by increasing the number of companies importing the goods. Products approved for parallel import may include designer brands, drugs, movies, TV shows, and games; it’s not clear if software, already pirated enough, would be affected.

Lower prices would certainly be welcome in Russia, where annual inflation is reported to have topped 15% and prices for some commodities have risen much more. Since March 2021, according to the Moscow Times, the price of sugar has increased by 56%, the price of cabbage by 209% and that of flour by 21%. ®


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