Russia Bans Sale of Smartphones Without Russian Apps

Apple and other producers will have to pre-install Russian-made applications onto smartphones for the Russian market.

Russia will force tech companies to pre-install Russian-made government-approved applications and software onto new smartphones from next year.

The measures — dubbed the “law against Apple” due to the U.S. iPhone maker’s refusal to sell products loaded with third-party apps — sailed through the Russian parliament and was rubber-stamped by President Vladimir Putin Monday. It will come into force next July. 

Backers say the measures will protect Russian consumers and support the Russian technology industry from unfair Western competition. Oleg Nikolayev, one of the lawmakers who authored the bill, said Russian consumers may not realize that there are Russian-made alternatives to the Western apps which come pre-installed on smartphones.

The government will now draw up a list of software which producers will need to pre-install and a list of the devices which will be covered by the law, expected to include computers, tablets and smart TVs alongside mobile phones.

Companies that do not abide by the law will face a fine of 200,000 rubles ($3,100), reports the independent Meduza news website. Apple previously threatened to leave the Russian market if a complete ban on selling its products without pre-installed apps was introduced, Russian media reported earlier this year.

A company source told the Kommersant business daily: “A mandate to add third-party applications to Apple’s ecosystem would be equivalent to jailbreaking. It would pose a security threat, and the company cannot tolerate that kind of risk.”

Russian digital rights NGO Roskomsvoboda said it feared the law would be enforced without transparency and proper control. Founder Artem Kozlyuk added: “If Russian lawmakers actually wanted to protect Russian consumers, then I would be more supportive of banning the pre-installation of any software.”

“The user should have a choice of what software products to use and what services they need. Devices are already stuffed with a huge number of services … a number of which can secretly collect information: location, tools and services being used and so on. And we, as users, often can’t track it,” he told The Moscow Times.

The law’s passing comes just weeks after Russia’s controversial sovereign internet law, which allows the Russian internet to be cut off from the global network, came into force. 

(c) The Moscow Times


  1. “Oleg Nikolayev, one of the lawmakers who authored the bill, said Russian consumers may not realize that there are Russian-made alternatives to the Western apps which come pre-installed on smartphones.”

    They do realise, that’s why they choose Western made apps, for one, they work, and two they are not directly linked to the Kremlin. Let’s hope Apple have the balls to pull out of the Russian market, or will profit come before morals.

    • The ruskies i know get their apps from illegal websites anyway, few like russian crap. Another desperate attempt to brainwash people. Putin will follow Hitler’s and Moussolini’s example… which is DEATH.

      • I wouldn’t trust any Russian or Chinese crap. If Apple do pull out like they said, I’m sure they won’t go bankrupt. That will leave Muscovy buying Chinese mobiles full of spyware, add the Russian spyware, their will be no room for anything else. LMAO

      • “…protect Russian consumers and support the Russian technology industry…”
        Translated from Moskali language means, “…track Russian consumers and support state-sponsored censorship…”


    Malaysian Defense Minister Mohamad Sabu confirmed that an offer has been received from Russia to replace the monarchy’s fighter aircraft with newer models.

    Sabu reportedly told Malaysia’s parliament that it is extremely important for the country’s Air Force to have fighters and aircraft for aerial observation.

    However, Sabu noted that Malaysia will not consider purchasing new combat aircraft “from scratch” before 2030. The Air Force is focusing on upgrading the aircraft in use. However, the minister said that the country could consider swapping older models for newer ones.

    At present, the Malaysian Air Force is operating 18 Russian-produced Su-30MKM fighters which it started acquiring in 2007. Numerous French-produced systems have been added to these fighters, including instrument landing systems, infrared sensors, and more.

    Malaysia’s fleet also includes 10 MiG-29 fighters. Kuala Lumpur has already said that these fighters’ service life has expired and that they need to be replaced.

    Parliamentarians asked the minister whether the defense department intended to replace all 28 Russian aircraft for newer models also produced in Russia? The minister responded that the ministry is considering replacing several Su-30MKMs with Su-30s and Mig-29s with MiG-35s, but not all of them, and only if the payment could be made in Malaysian palm oil.

    Sabu also pointed out that the country needs a sea patrol aircraft and flight simulators for training pilots.

    There is not yet any information on whether Russia would be willing to accept payment in palm oil for the upgraded fighters.

    • This would have nothing to do with Malaysia saying Muscovy are not responsible for MH17, would it?

  3. Then free-thinking Ruskie will buy their phones outside of mafia land. The rest are sheep and don’t care being spied on.

    • They will ban them too, or confiscate them at the border if they don’t contain Russian spyware.

Enter comments here: