Bogdan Popa

Friday, November 4, 2016

Russian President Vladimir Putin wants the country to abandon software solutions built outside its borders in favor of alternatives developed by local companies, but Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov says the transition is not possible at the moment.

A report that was published earlier this week and citing a US intelligence document obtained by NBC News indicated that President Putin made it a priority to replace Microsoft software with domestically-built solutions amid worries that the Redmond-based technology giant could be involved in the cyber warfare and be used by Americans against Russia.

No worthy replacements for Windows and Office

But Peskov claims that although a transition is in progress, replacing absolutely all Windows and Office systems in state agencies is impossible for the time being, especially because local companies haven’t yet developed worthy alternatives.

“It would be possible if domestic software producers made something more effective. Then the direct feasibility of totally transferring to something more efficient would of course be there, it is a matter of efficiency,” Peskov explained.

“In general, work on creating domestic software is ongoing. But there is understanding of course that the involvement of domestic software is possible where there is no reduced performance, its effectiveness… But this work, of course is being conducted. It is routine work for the development of domestic electronics, domestic programming,” he continued.

This doesn’t mean that Russia isn’t planning the complete transition off Microsoft products. Back in November 2015, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev approved new laws that require local companies to buy software from Russia companies. A list of alternatives to foreign software was created and included approximately 1,500 solutions on January 1, 2016, when the law came into effect.

For the moment, however, replacing all foreign solutions is still difficult because building products such as operating systems and productivity suites takes more time, and local software developers are yet to come up with effective solutions. Russia isn’t looking into Linux and open-source software either, as the country wants to rely exclusively on domestic solutions that are developed within its borders.

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