Russia’s geek-in-chief

In case you were wondering why the Kremlin needs its own English-language news channel targeting an international audience, it’s to run stories like this one. With the world’s leaders all around him at the G20 in London, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has been seen breezily chatting away on his mobile phone. It is the first ...

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In case you were wondering why the Kremlin needs its own English-language news channel targeting an international audience, it's to run stories like this one.

With the world's leaders all around him at the G20 in London, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has been seen breezily chatting away on his mobile phone.

In case you were wondering why the Kremlin needs its own English-language news channel targeting an international audience, it’s to run stories like this one.

With the world’s leaders all around him at the G20 in London, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has been seen breezily chatting away on his mobile phone.

It is the first time a Russian president has ever been seen in public using a mobile.

Medvedev is known to like keeping up with the latest high-tech gadgets, and even has been seen wearing a James Bond-style watch complete with a camera, GPS navigator, radio and video player.

As a true geek, Medvedev is probably also not a big fan of Microsoft. While the rest of the world has been battling Bill Gates’ empire for almost two decades, it’s only now that Russia has waken up to the challenge and has placed the company on a government antitrust watchlist. CNET has more.

I wonder if the persecution of Microsoft is somehow related to much-discussed plans for the development of a genuine Russian “national open-source operating system” that could overtake other open-source projects like Ubuntu. Most open-source systems are – how should I put it – already (or still?) very hard to use; giving them an extra Russian edge would make them appealing only to the small tech-masochist niche – or, perhaps, the Russian bureaucrats who are the usual victims of such experiments (in late 1990s, they were all complaining about having to drive Russian cars to work). But of course, the situation would change dramatically if the Russian geek-in-chief were to ban Microsoft from Russia!

 

Photo by Worldeconomicforum/Flickr

Evgeny Morozov is a fellow at the Open Society Institute and sits on the board of OSI's Information Program. He writes the Net Effect blog on ForeignPolicy.com
Tag: Russia

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