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Tech russia russiasmyslovtechcrunch:

Tech russia russiasmyslovtechcrunch:

Putin’s televised address to the nation, in which he recognized the independence of the Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics, Ukrainian territories that have been under Russian control since 2014, made it clear to Smirnov that war was really coming. He told the country what he thought and, in a way, declared war,” Smirnov said. “Everyone in my family shook as they listened to that mean speech.”

Knowing that war has been declared is one thing. It’s a very different thing to hear about the bombings on February 24. The next morning, Smirnov knew for sure that he had to leave Russia. After getting dressed, he went to take a COVID-19 test so he could fly as soon as possible to Georgia, which is close by, and then go to Ireland.

Nik Shevchenko, the CEO of the new company WeLoveNoCode, who is only 22 years old, also decided to leave Russia. Shevchenko bought a plane ticket to Portugal because he was afraid that Russia would impose martial law, which would close the borders. Shevchenko said, “First they close the borders, and then they force you to kill.” I’m healthy enough to join the military, but I don’t want to kill innocent people.

Natalia Chebotar left Russia with her family when Putin ordered that “all nuclear deterrence forces be placed in a special regime.” This was a veiled threat of nuclear posturing not seen since the Cold War. Yuri Malyugin used to be the lead product designer at the tech company SberAutoTech. When IT companies and services started leaving Russia one by one, he bought a ticket to Georgia, where Russians can stay for up to a year without a visa.

Tech russia russiasmyslovtechcrunch:

A user experience designer from Moscow who asked to remain anonymous said that his work computer became “a useless piece of plastic” a few days into the war. After Russia was cut off from SWIFT in early March, the software stopped working, and his company could no longer get money from foreign colleagues or pay its employees in Europe.

“The last straw was when we tried to send the employee’s pay to Ukraine,” said the designer. He was at home in Mariupol at the time. The city was already being bombed, and there was a curfew in place. His last message to us was, “I don’t have any money left.” When I look out my window, I can see mobile crematoriums coming up to my house. “After that, we never heard from him again.”

The Russian Association for Electronic Communications, or RAEK, says that between February and March, about 70,000 IT professionals left Russia. RAEK experts say that Russia could lose another 100,000 specialists in April. These people are currently staying in Russia because they need to finish up business in Moscow and because plane tickets are expensive. (When the war started, more than 30 countries closed their airspace to Russian planes,

and Boeing and Airbus stopped taking care of Russian fleets and started bringing back leased planes.) Google is already working behind the scenes to get its team out of Russia. The Russians who worked for the British startup Arrival moved to other countries. Kommersant says that the Miro platform moved its team from the Russian city of Perm to the Dutch city of Amsterdam.

Anastasia Mirolyubova, co-founder of Immigram, an immigration platform for IT professionals and entrepreneurs, said that charter flights started taking IT professionals out of Russia on February 24.

But the second wave of people leaving, which was thought to happen in April, may not happen. Since the beginning of the war, Russia’s FSB has been especially interested in tech and IT specialists who are leaving the country. The FSB is a government agency that is known for killing and poisoning Russians who oppose Putin’s regime on contract.

“Let’s keep the secrets of the motherland in the motherland.”
As soon as the war in Ukraine started, IT experts crossing into Russia were often stopped and questioned. One CGI artist from Moscow remembers that on February 28, he was stopped at passport control at Sheremetyevo Airport and taken to a room where an FSB officer questioned him. He was asked what he thought about the “special military operation” in Ukraine and what he knew about Anonymous hackers.

On March 8, a manager from another IT company was questioned by a staff member in plain clothes at a Novosibirsk airport before he left. “He asked me what programming languages I know if I can hack into programs, and if I know what white, gray, and black hats are. I told him that I don’t do hacking, and he said, “That’s a shame.”

The news about interrogations at the border led to the creation of a Telegram channel called “Russian Border Control.” At the time of this writing, it had more than 24,000 subscribers who could share their stories. The administrator of the channel, who wants to remain anonymous, said that he posted more than 500 border-crossing stories in a month, and most of them had something to do with the IT industry.


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