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Russian government to avoid US IT-products

0 25 March 2014

Russian government departments are to gradually reduce their dependence on American software and hardware, according to Communications Minister Nikolay Nikiforov.

Yesterday the minister posted on his Twitter account that “American openly announces that it's stepping up its spying on Russia” with a link to this article in the Wall Street Journal. He then added that “American intelligence officials (siloviki) will blackmark American software and hardware in the Russian state-sector.” 

By this he presumably meant that the USA’s determination to spy on the Russian government’s internal communications would oblige state departments and agencies to avoid all software and hardware produced in America. 

He also recommended that state ministries and agencies shouldn’t wait for an official ban on US-made software, but said that instead those responsible for handing out state contracts will gradually move towards “more trustworthy” partners for IT-sector projects. 

CNews asked a number of individuals from the Russian IT sector for their thoughts on the Communications Minister’s announcement.

Ilya Medvedovski, general director of IT-security firm Digital Security thinks that it is an obvious step.

“It has long been obvious to IT security professionals that the government must live according to the ‘test others while creating your own’ principle. On the one hand, this requires comprehensive research into the security credentials of software and hardware used in government departments, and on the other a commitment to creating Russian equivalents. These are the only options.”

Alexandr Semenov, general director of Korus Consulting understands Nikiforov’s concern, but points out that achieving software independence is an enormous task.

“The Communications Ministry’s desire to reduce state organs’ dependence on foreign, and in particular American, tech products is understandable. However, even if the government decided to switch to using exclusively Russian IT products, this process would take a very long time. It’s enough just to think of how many services are based on Oracle and to imagine how many years it would take to develop solutions based on a different system.”

Renat Yusupov, senior Vice President of Kraftway Technologies also doubts whether the measures will really solve the problem. 

“The problem is too deep-rooted to be solved by a simple refusal to buy products from American retailers. We are not so much dependent on the retailers, but on a whole range of technologies and components required for communications and the cloud. Our dependence one these things is catastrophic, and we can’t simply stop using them.”

Source: CNews

Top image via Shutterstock

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