Russia’s EAEU Partners Critical of Pre-installed Domestic Software Law

Member-states of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) met earlier this month to express their discontent with a new Russian law obligating the pre-installation of Russian software on mobile devices, computers and smart TVs, Vedomosti reported.

According to the representatives from Kyrgyzstan, Belarus and Kazakhstan, the amendments contradict the EAEU union agreement, the WTO’s general agreement on trade in services and the Technical Regulations of the Customs Union, and may limit the circulation of technically complex goods from other EAEU countries to Russia. The amendments may also impede the functioning of the union’s internal market, EAEU member-states said.

The participants of the meeting decided that in order to enforce the law, after amending it, it is necessary to establish technical requirements for pre-installed software and create a list for it.

“The list of technically complex products and Russian programs that must be pre-installed on them will be approved by the government,” Anatoly Sheludyakov, head of the EAEU Digital Transformation Competency Center at the government analytical center told Vedomosti.

The amended law does not prohibit the installation of foreign programs, including those originating from EAEU states, Sheludyakov added. The purpose of the law is to give Russian consumers the opportunity to use devices immediately after purchase, he said. According to the expert, the law does not violate Russia’s WTO or EAEU obligations.