This is a situation that seems to be part of the extension of the sanctions taken in the West to try to make Russia retreat in its war in Ukraine – without success for the moment. As of this weekend, it appears that Windows 10 and Windows 11 downloads in Russia are hampered. This was observed by the Bleeping Computer site on June 20.
These disruptions observed in recent days with the two most recent versions of the Windows operating system remain unexplained today. The American company did not communicate on this subject. The concerns were observed from the official website of the Redmond firm. They have not been recorded elsewhere in the world, which tends to rule out the hypothesis of a technical problem.
Microsoft has ceased all service and product sales in Russia
Since the start of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Microsoft has taken steps to lighten its footprint in the country, effectively participating in the sanctions package targeting Moscow. The company’s latest milestone dates back to March 2022, with a blog post signed by Brad Smith, president and chief legal officer of Microsoft.
In its speech, the software giant indicates that it has taken the decision to suspend all new sales of its products and services in Russia. What this formula covers is not clear: migrating a computer to Windows 11, for example, is supposed to be free if you have a valid Windows 10 license.
According to tests by Bleeping Computer, but also by the Russian news agency TASS, downloads with a virtual private network (VPN) worked… only when the servers were located abroad. A test with a VPN in Russia did not yield anything, which confirms the track of a voluntary measure by Microsoft to restrict downloads in Russia.
We know that Russia lost part of its interconnection with the rest of the net, after the decision of Cogent and Lumen to reduce the airfoil – these two companies routed traffic in the country. But that shouldn’t prevent downloads. Clearly, the Internet pipe between Russia and the rest of the world is narrower, but not clogged.
If it is a deliberate act, it will probably only comfort Moscow to do without Windows in the long term, so as not to suffer any more obstacles on one of the most critical software for a computer. — in fact, the most essential: the operating system. We know that the Kremlin wants to leave Windows to go to a local or open source solution.
This logic is similar in other segments of tech. For processors, the country finds itself deprived of the most advanced chips in the world. If a Russian industry exists, it is however not at the level of what is best. Reviving the sector will require an effort over (tens of) years and colossal investments, amounting to tens of billions of euros.
Until then, the Russians will turn — and some of them certainly already have — to piracy. The country is also considered one of those where software counterfeiting is one of the most important. Russia is also regularly listed in American reports on the subject. If Windows 11 can no longer be obtained on a regular basis, then it will probably be otherwise.