Google Play Store alternative, RuStore, to be embedded in Android devices in Russia

RuStore’s full integration into all Android devices sold in Russia would further reduce the country’s reliance on Western tech companies.

Russia’s Ministry of Digital Development wants to legally oblige smartphone manufacturers to embed RuStore in the device’s system.

RuStore is an application marketplace similar to Google Play Store or the Apple version App Store. The app was developed by VK, a Russian technology company partly owned by Gazprom-Media.

The ministry wants RuStore to be deeply buried in the device’s system, to the point where users would be prompted to register their account with the app the first time the smartphone is turned on.

The proposed legislation brings many technical problems, claims Russia’s business newspaper Kommersant. For example, RuStore doesn’t support automatically updating apps installed via the Russia-focused app marketplace.

The legislation stipulates that RuStore must be integrated as deep as the device’s default app store or the operating system itself. In essence, that would mean RuStore is equally integral to an Android device as Google Play Store.

Russian lawmakers even specified that it should not take users any more steps to launch RuStore as it does to start the device’s default apps’ marketplace.

Kommersant notes that RuStore has already been included in the list of programs that must be pre-installed on devices sold in Russia.

However, the law has little effect since Western manufacturers stopped exporting devices to Russia in retaliation for its invasion of Ukraine, meaning the majority of devices enter Russia from other nations and are calibrated for markets outside the reach of Russian lawmakers.

VK launched RuStore in May 2022, after Google and Apple started limiting access for Russian users in response to Russia starting the war.

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