Russia's IT Sector Hit By Sanctions, Brain Drain
Sanctions and the mass exodus of multinational corporations have eroded Russian IT industry’s access to foreign capital and technology. And tens of thousands of Russian IT specialists have left the country since the beginning of the conflict, Al Jazeera reported.
Photo Insert: President Vladimir Putin has admitted that the Russian IT sector will face “colossal” difficulties as it seeks to contain the fallout from international sanctions.
President Vladimir Putin has admitted that the Russian IT sector will face “colossal” difficulties as it seeks to contain the fallout from international sanctions.
At the same time, however, some industry insiders argue that the crisis could present an opportunity for Russian tech companies to reconquer the domestic market and ease their technological dependence on the West.
The sector found itself estranged from the West almost overnight after the outbreak of the war in Ukraine in February.
The United States and 37 other countries imposed export controls that restricted Russia’s access to strategic technologies such as semiconductors, microelectronics, telecommunications equipment, sensors, lasers, and aircraft components.
US President Joe Biden’s administration also blacklisted more than a dozen Russian tech companies and institutions.
Overcoming Western sanctions is not the only challenge facing the Russian IT industry. The Russian Association of Electronic Commerce estimated that 50,000 to 70,000 IT specialists left the country in the first several weeks of the war.
A lower figure was offered by the Russoft software developer’s association, which said about 40,000 IT workers moved abroad during the first half of 2022. This wave of migration has sparked concerns about the threat of a potential brain drain.
Even before the war, Russia’s IT sector lacked 500,000 to 1 million specialists to fully meet its needs, according to data from the Ministry of Digital Development.