Надія Баловсяк Доцент кафедри медіакомунікацій УКУ

Startup entrepreneurs and programmers are leaving Russia

6 Січня 2023, 14:53

Digital support

YouTube continues its own policies on its Russian market and is able to do so without any repercussions. Another victim of Youtube’s policies is ‘RT Balkan’, the Balkan subsidiary of Russia Today, a state-sponsored TV propaganda network. This channel, like many other pro-Putin channels, was blocked. It existed less than a month from the moment of its creation.

Digital support to Ukraine can come in different forms. For example, in the newest sanctions package, the EU implemented an embargo of export of laptops and cameras to Russia. Such equipment falls under the sanctioned list of items that may enhance the development of the defense and security sector.

Hopefully, this act will affect all sectors of Russia’s economy, for example, as to create problems with the delivery of Dot matrix printers, after which, the Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation had difficulties in printing new passports. Foreign printers are forbidden and they do not have their own, thus, there is nothing to print with.

Obscure sanction maneuvers

By the end of December, Cisco WiFi routers have stopped functioning in Russia. The reason – sanctions. The company disconnected its devices from its cloud storage and program updates, and sent an email out to its clients about this. The obstruction of its services will be determined through geolocation of the provider’s users, thus making all the routers in Belarus and Russia futile.

Maxut Shadayev, Minister of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media, pointed out some additional hardship brought by the sanctions. Due to the fact that Taiwanese chip suppliers refuse to deal with Russia, there has been a drop in tech production. One can mention the Russian processors, such as ‘Elbrus’ and ‘Baykal’, that were already ordered from Taiwan. It is also questionable as to how the processors are considered to be Russian in such a case. Shadayev claimed that Russia has intellectual rights to these chips and they are a Russian development that is made abroad, but one can find a similar concept with USA’s iPhone, which is also assembled abroad. After Taiwan’s halt in deliveries of chips to Russia, Russia drastically underproduced its predicted amount of computers and other equipment. Shadayev further stated that only 3% of computers and servers have Russian processors.

Digital blockade

We never get tired of reiterating that Russia is better than anyone else at restricting itself in the digital sphere. Domestic experts belonging to prestigious economic schools of thought came to the conclusion that Russia has already been abandoned by 38 founders of ‘startup Rhinos’ – companies that have been valued above 1 billion USD upon entry into market.

In a new drafted law from the ruling United Russia Party, it is proposed to make remote work from abroad illegal for Russians. In particular, a few specialities were in question, however, it is unclear yet as to which ones. However, in the feedback commentary, one could find mentions of the bank/financial system – justified by the concern that a ban would protect corporate secrets and private data. Responding quickly, the Ministry of Digital Development made it clear that they were against the banning of remote work for IT-specialists, explaining that it would negatively impact the development of digital platforms and the IT sector in Russia as a whole despite the fact that a few days prior, Shadayev admitted that more than 100 thousand IT specialists left the country since February – around 10% of the total. According to his numbers, around 80% of them continue to work for Russian companies.

Not long after, additional information indicated that the law may impact those who work from abroad in the sphere of information security. Information security is already a problematic sphere for Russia, especially when considering that Kaspersky Lab is being blocked by everyone around the world. Perhaps, this is a strategy to get the specialists back to Russia. This kind of scenario is still likely as information in the past weeks indicated that many Russian IT-specialists have had their German work visas rejected due to the fact that they have worked for Russian banks in the past. It is already known that some of those who were rejected were the former employees of banks such as Sberbank, Alpha Bank, VTB – all institutions that were sanctioned.