Russia continues to seek ways to lash out at the punishing sanctions against it, because of its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine.

President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday signed a decree, which states that from 31 March 2022 foreign software such as standalone applications, or software embedded within hardware or equipment, can no longer be purchased with the approval of Moscow.

The move is part of Russia’s attempt to wean itself off foreign technology, much of which is out of its hands, after the tech industry joined the global sanctions effort against the country and suspended sales, or restricted their platforms, products and services to Russia.

Foreign software

President Putin in the decree also prohibited state entities and other customers from using foreign software from 1 January 2025, the Register reported.

The decree gives Russian governmental agencies one month to clarify their software requirements for critical infrastructure, as well as to adopt new rules for approving the purchase of necessary foreign software.

The decree also requests the Russian government to form a group that will develop and maintain the required software and hardware, needed for critical infrastructure projects.

Government departments have six months to adopt the measures that will lessen Russia’s dependence on (mostly western) technology.

Departments are also reportedly required to create a monitoring and control regime, in addition to assuring trained personnel are available to manage the planned trusted tech.

Back in 2019, Russia passed a law that banned the sale of electronic devices including smartphones, smart TVs, and PCs, that were not pre-installed with Russian-made software.

At the time Russia promoted the law as making it easier for ordinary Russians to use the gadgets they purchase.

Pirate nation

And befitting Russia’s new status as a pariah nation, officials in Russia have decided to adopt pirate techniques, namely its decision not to respect the authorisation of copyright or trademark holders.

The announcement by Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin on Wednesday was noted on Twitter by Kevin Rothrock, who monitors Russian media.

The parallel importing of goods into Russia without the permission of the brand owner or copyright holder, is another step for Russia in moving away from legal norms and international rules.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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