Russian gas giant Gazprom asks Moscow to end plans to force use of domestic software as company faces $2.3 billion bill – reports

The head of Gazprom, Russia’s largest company, has allegedly asked the government to reconsider new rules that would force the corporation to use domestic software, claiming changing from current programs would be too costly.

According to a presidential decree, businesses that form Russia’s critical information infrastructure, such as banks and energy companies, must transition to domestic software by January 1, 2024, and to home-made equipment by January 1, 2025.

In a letter to Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin, Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller said this will cost a whopping 180 billion rubles ($2.3 billion). According to Miller, switching from foreign to domestic software would be too much of a financial burden and risks causing a negative impact on the economic performance of Gazprom.

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According to Moscow daily RBC, which has seen the letter, the CEO has proposed that the decree be amended to not include a date when software should be replaced.

As well as Miller’s concerns, comments from the company’s First Deputy Oleg Aksyutin were also included. Aksyutin highlighted that rushing to change software in the oil and gas sector is dangerous, and serious modernization should be accompanied by a prolonged shutdown of industrial facilities.

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Originally signed in May 2020, the decree for important Russian businesses to change to domestic software was initially planned to come into force by January 1, 2021. This was, however, radically revised later in 2020, and pushed back 3 years. This is mainly due to the fact that Russia does not have quality analogs of many of the required pieces of software, and their development may take many years.

Earlier this month, it was revealed that the Russian state-owned corporation Rostec had banned its employees from using foreign applications such as Zoom, Skype, and WhatsApp on company hardware. Internal company communication is now conducted on a system called IVA AVES S, designed by the company ‘HiTech,’ along with Rostec subsidiary Mashtab.

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