“We are breeding the cow and they are milking it.”
The first-ever internet adviser to Russian President Vladimir Putin believes the country is being taken advantage of by US tech companies and local lawmakers are only letting them get away with it. German Klimenko wants the madness to end.
In a 90-minute interview, Klimenko gave a rhetorical performance rivaled only by John Legere‘s. The adviser ranted in favor of moving government computers off of the pervasive Windows operating system and placing tariffs on US tech companies’ products to give Russian products a chance in competing with them.
Oddly enough, a bill being looked at in parliament would add an 18 percent value-added tax to foreign tech company revenues of up to 300 billion rubles or $3.9 billion. Domestic companies already pay a VAT for transactions such as application and multimedia purchases and digital advertising.
Keep in mind, the country’s fording through an economic recession with its main export, oil, not garnering the revenue it used to for the Kremlin.
Klimenko said that VATs for Play Store and App Store buys exist in Europe, but not in the “banana republic” of Russia. He also believes that companies like Google can track “everything,” responding to 32,000 information requests from US law enforcement every year, but not any from Russian agencies.
The adviser added that “it’s only a matter of time” before it decides to impose internet browsing restrictions inside the country, though likely not to the extent of what North Korea or China does. “It won’t be fatal if Google leaves Russia — Yandex and Mail.ru have similar technologies,” he said.
It will be interesting to see how a firewall may pan out for the mobile side of things.