Smartphones, tablets and computers sold in Russia must now come with pre-installed domestic software and apps from Thursday in a new law seen by critics as another attempt to curb online freedom.
The initiative was introduced in an effort to promote the country’s tech companies but critics say it is another bid to tighten state control of Russia’s digital space.
The law requires all devices with internet access sold in the country — whether they are produced locally or abroad — to be equipped with the necessary software or face potential fines from July onwards.
The pre-installed software belongs in particular to two Russian IT giants: Yandex and Mail.ru.
Among the compulsory apps are Odnoklassniki and VKontakte, social