On Friday, the Russian Prime Minister, Dmitry Medvedev signed an order that will effectively ban the use of foreign made software from all state and municipal agencies, from January 2016. The order was published on the Russian government’s official website the same day.

Exceptions to the new rule will only be allowed when no home-made Russian alternative to foreign computer programs are available.

State bodies and other public organizations will be forced to limit their potential software purchases to programs only included in a new ‘Special Register’ of Russian software

Russian PM Bans State Agencies From Using.docx

The Russian Communications Ministry will be given oversight of the special register via an expert steering group to be chosen by the same government office.

While it is unclear just exactly how far the committee’s remit will extend in practice, it has been confirmed that Russian government copyrighted software will be included.

Some of the specifications for inclusion to the Russian Special  Register:

  • Russian registered nonprofit groups and commercial enterprises of which at least 50% must be owned by Russians.
  • Software that qualifies for the register must be available across the entire Russian State.
  • No more than 30% of license fees and profits can be paid to foreign interests.
  • Any state agency and affiliated  owned software will automatically qualify.

While exceptions can be made in certain cases, the case for exclusion will have to be proved extensively before the software can be allowed. These exceptions will only be approved where the register does not have a listed program with the necessary technical or operational features deemed necessary.

The order by Medvedev is being seen part of a new Russian government push to develop and promote the nations own software and hardware industry.

Foreign software giants such as IBM, Microsoft, SAP, and others were said to have done almost $1.5 billion worth of business in Russia last year, and were responsible for around 75% of the total number of software sales. $300 million of this was by sales to public bodies.

A significant number of Russian politicians and State officials have become more vocal in recent years about the dangers of relying upon foreign software. They have often cited the vulnerability of foreign software in regard to data leaks and surveillance, especially in critical matters of state.

It was only in October, that some Russian MPs stated they were to write a draft bill to ban government employees from using the likes of Google and Facebook, due ostensibly to security concerns with foreign built software.