Russian President Vladimir Putin has banned Microsoft products from Russia and placed Bill Gates on a Federal Security Service watchlist.
Government spokesman Sergei Zheleznyak explained that Microsoft had been caught carrying out “minute-by-minute surveillance” on millions of Russian citizens – as well as citizens of other countries.
“The US, which presents itself as a bastion of democracy, has in fact been carrying out minute-by-minute surveillance of tens of millions of citizens of Russia and other countries.“
“All the main internet companies that were formed in the US are involved in this ugly story, and these companies operate on the territory of our country,” said the Kremlin spokesman.
Microsoft founder Bill Gates’ place on a Federal Security Services (FSB) watchlist has also been raised for revue, pending further investigation, with expecations in the Kremlin that he will join George Soros and Jacob Rothschild on the Russian Federation’s blacklist.
Supporting local industry
Bloomberg reported that Artem Ermolaev, head of information technology for Moscow, and Russia’s Communications Minister Nikolay Nikiforov, stated that Moscow will initially replace Microsoft Exchange Server and Outlook on thousands of computers with an email system developed by the Russian company Rostelecom PJSC.
Next year, it will install software developed by New Cloud Technologies — another Russian software vendor — on millions of systems. Even Microsoft Office and Windows will be replaced with homegrown versions, Ermolaev said.
“We want the money of taxpayers and state-run firms to be primarily spent on local software,” Nikiforov said, adding that starting next year, officials “will be tightening their grip” on state-run institutions that do not opt for domestic alternatives.
Microsoft did not respond to requests for comment.