Russia’s Tech Industry in Peril Due to Ukraine Conflict

Ukraine war: How Russia is destroying its tech industry

The tech industry in Russia has been deeply impacted by the country’s invasion of Ukraine. Many IT professionals have fled the country, and around 100,000 digital specialists left in 2022 alone. Yandex, the Russian equivalent of Google, has also been affected and has begun selling lucrative businesses to a competitor controlled by state-owned companies. This is all due to the fact that the country is becoming isolated and cut off from the global tech industry, research, funding, scientific exchange, and important technical components.

For a while, the tech sector was a beacon of hope in Russia, as it was one of the few areas where one’s skills could be more valuable than their connections. However, the government has sought to rein in Russia’s internet and its most powerful tech companies for more than a decade. The war in Ukraine only accelerated the damage that was already done. Citizens are now locked into a tightly controlled internet where news is sourced from the government, and freedom of expression is severely curtailed.

Although the tech industry is not the biggest industry in Russia, it is one of the most important drivers of the economy. Between 2015 and 2021, the IT sector in Russia was responsible for more than a third of GDP growth, reaching 3.7 trillion rubles ($47.8 billion) in 2021. If the tech industry declines, the country’s economy will stagnate, and it will likely suffer in the long run.

On the day the invasion of Ukraine began, employees at Yandex were tense. News of the invasion spread around the office, and some employees left the country the same day. Anastasiia Diuzharden, then head of content marketing at Yandex Business, said that looking back, she saw few people working. During a “khural,” or weekly meeting, Tigran Khudaverdyan, executive director and deputy CEO of Yandex, reassured them that the company would move on.

Overall, the tech industry in Russia faces an uncertain future. The exodus of workers will have significant implications for the development of the country’s tech landscape. Economic growth will be hampered if this industry falls behind, and the future of tech in Russia remains uncertain.

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