On March 31, 2021, the American company Zoom Video Communications banned its distributors from selling their products to Russian companies and organizations with state participation. The authenticity of the document was confirmed by the CEO of Zoom in Russia, Andrey Petrenko. According to Petrenko, the ban applies not only to Russian state institutions, but also to the public sector of the CIS countries. Thus, universities, state-owned companies and government agencies will not be able to use Zoom corporate communication, and their video conferences will be limited to the standard 40 minutes. Russian schools and individuals are not affected by this restriction.
What are the limitations?
According to Zoom resources, the free version of the program is designed for private users and small organizations. This version allows you to host an unlimited number of one-on-one conferences, while group conferences are limited in time. In the paid version of Zoom Pro, the 40-minute limit is removed, and up to 100 conference participants can be connected. The license also provides access to 1 GB of cloud storage for recording and storing MP4 videos. The commercial corporate version of Zoom Business is characterized by the ability to connect up to 300 people to the conference, and Zoom Enterprise-the organization of additional corporate IP telephony.
Who uses the app in Russian companies?
Despite the relevance of online conferences, Russian government agencies did not use the corporate version of Zoom. According to the data from the public procurement website, paid licenses for the program were almost not purchased. A completely different picture is in the case of Russian commercial companies with state participation: they purchased Zoom quite often. Licenses were purchased by Sheremetyevo Airport, Gazprom and VTB structures, individual museums and numerous universities throughout the country: in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Kaliningrad, Nizhny Novgorod, Kazan, Izhevsk, Komsomolsk-on-Amur, Krasnoyarsk, Samara, Pskov, etc. Putin and the Kremlin employees do not use Zoom for work purposes. This was announced on Wednesday by the press secretary of the president Dmitry Peskov:
“We don’t have an account and we’ve never had any contractual relations with Zoom, we don’t need to”
What will the Russian authorities use now?
The head of the Ministry of Finance Maksut Shadaev said that the Russian equivalent of the Zoom platform will be ready in 2022. “Now, as an experiment that the government is conducting, the platform has been created and is being launched in pilot regions.
We hope that if not by the end of this year, then by the end of next year we will have a full-fledged analog of Zoom,” the minister said.
Among the ready-made domestic analogues there are such programs as «Video Calls Mail.ru» from the holding company Mail.ru Group, «Telemost»from Yandex, «videomost» from Spirit and TrueConf, made by order of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of the Russian Federation.
Grigory Ivanov, the founder of Neutronics Group, explained in his comment to Kommersant that Zoom does not work in markets that it considers toxic, as this can affect the price of shares on the stock exchange.
“Given that the United States is the main market for Zoom, the company tries to exclude any reasons that could undermine their image,” added Dmitry Odintsov, TrueConf Development Director.