Legal alerts / 22.03.2021

A new law on mandatory pre-installation of Russian software

From 1 April 2021, the manufacturers of smart phones, tablets, computers, TVs with Smart TV and other devices must install Russian software on devices that are sold in Russia.

This requirement is established by the relevant Federal Law (the “Law”) and Government Decree.

The list of pre-installed software includes: browsers, search engines, social networks, messengers, email services and other programs, mapping and navigation services, voice assistants, news aggregators, antivirus programs, office software, audio-visual services, programs for online broadcasting and access to user content, the Mir payment service application, cloud storage, the Gosuslugi application, programs for access to resources included in the list of socially significant Internet services, including access to the list of Russian programs rapidly gaining popularity.

The greatest number of different types of programs must be pre-installed on smartphones and tablets, among them: browsers, search engines, social networks, messengers, e-mail services and other programs.

It is important to note that for each class of programs you must install one application from the list approved by the Ministry of Digital Economy of Russia.

Along with Russian software, it is allowed to pre-install software produced in other countries of the Eurasian Economic Union – Belarus, Kazakhstan, Armenia, or Kyrgyzstan – if such programs are included in the list of the Russian Ministry of Digital Security.

Three options for pre-installation of applications are allowed: in full on the hard drive of the device, as a download icon, as well as installation upon first startup. The law does not provide for the mandatory use of Russian software, with the user having the right to remove it or not to download it at will.

For non-compliance with the requirements of the Law there is administrative liability in the form of a fine.  The fines for officials will be from approx. EUR 340 to EUR 570, while for legal entities they will be from approx. EUR 570 to EUR 2,246. The consumer regulator Rospotrebnadzor will deal with cases of such violations.

In general, the law is aimed at promoting Russian programs on the IT market; through these the popularity of Russian applications compared with foreign ones may increase. At the same time, the growth of Russian companies’ revenues will replenish the state budget.

The law does not oblige companies to reject foreign software, which can also be installed on devices. It will depend on the consumer whether Russian or foreign programs will be used on the devices. Some well-known foreign companies have already confirmed their readiness to adapt their business processes to the new rules.

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