Russia’s version of GitHub is on its way, Ministry of Digital Development announced

Russia will create its own version of Microsoft-owned GitHub, which will host public open-source projects amid increased sanctions risks.

Ministry of Digital Development, Communications, and Mass Media of the Russian Federation announced that the works will begin on November 1, with the platform expected to be fully operational by April 30, 2024.

“It is important for us to support the open-source software development community and create an environment for them to work together, free from sanctions risks,” said Maxim Parshin, Russia’s Deputy Minister of Digital Development, Communications, and Mass Media.

The press release sets out plans for the creation of a national open-source software repository, the placement of created software within it, and the formation of a regulatory framework for the publication of open-source software.

“We have been working on creating a Russian ecosystem for the development and implementation of open source software for a long time. This decision is an important and relevant step in the development of our digital sovereignty,” Ilya Massukh, Director General of the Competence Center for Import Substitution in the Sphere of ICT, is quoted in the press release.

In doing so, Russia will follow the footsteps of China, which has occasionally blocked GitHub and introduced its clone, Gitee – a designated open-source development hub. Back in May, the platform announced that it would temporarily close public code repositories for review amid the growing internet censorship within China.

Previously, it was reported that GitHub is suspending accounts of Russian software developers and companies linked to entities sanctioned by the US government, with the bans starting on April 13.

At the time, the GitHub accounts of Sberbank Technology, Sberbank AI Lab, and the Alfa Bank Laboratory were all removed. Additionally, accounts of individuals who had ever been affiliated with sanctioned companies were also impacted.

Back in March, the platform stated that it will continue providing access to Russian developers worldwide.

“In parallel with our efforts to make sure GitHub is available to developers in all countries, we are continuing to ensure free open source services are available to all, including developers in Russia,” GitHub announced in a blog post.

Reports of Russia’s plans to completely disconnect from the global internet kept coming in following Putin’s signing of the Runet law, which lays out the country’s vision of sovereign internet. Runet will theoretically allow to cut Russia off from the world wide web in the “event of foreign aggression.” Despite the delays in the implementation, Russia tested Runet in 2021 – the experiment was called by the Kremlin “a success.”

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