Russia’s govt mandates pre-installed Russian-made apps on all new devices starting in 2021

Closeup image of woman`s hands holding smartphone and typing something at keyboard of laptop. Young female searching information in network on mobile phone and laptop during free time. Photo by the Xinhua. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

MOSCOW, Nov 24, 2020, Meduza. Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin has signed a government decree obliging electronics manufacturers to install Russian-made software on new devices — including smartphones, tablets, desktop and laptop computers, and smart TVs — as of January 1, 2021, Meduza reported (according Russian law, Meduza has the status of a “foreign agent”).

The list of programs for mandatory pre-installation has 16 categories, including browsers, search engines, navigators and maps, messengers, new aggregators, social networks, email services, and programs for accessing the “Mir” payment system. Specific programs are set to be developed by December 15.

Initially, the mandatory pre-installation of Russian-made software was supposed to come into force on July 1, 2020, but in March this deadline was pushed by six months.

Previously, the Russian authorities planned to introduce the mandatory pre-installed apps in stages, starting with Russian-made browser, maps, and navigators as of July 1, 2020; payment and emails services, messengers, and social networks as of July 2021; and “programs for providing audiovisual services, as well as applications for free access to national television and radio channels” as of July 2022. The new government decree does not specify whether or not these deadlines have been moved.

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