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Kremlin Orders Russian Officials to Ditch iPhones: Here’s Why


According to the Russian daily Kommersant, the first deputy head of the presidential administration, Sergei Kiriyenko, has advised Russian officials to stop using iPhones according to the source

Some Russian government personnel was advised to return their iPhones. According to reports, officials close to the presidential administration were urged to buy new phones by April. According to Kommersant, the order comes amid concerns about information security ahead of Russia’s presidential election.

According to the Russian business weekly Kommersant, the Kremlin advised some Russian officials to hand up their Apple iPhones by the end of March due to information security concerns.

According to the Russian daily, which cited sources present at the meeting, the command was issued earlier this month during a seminar in the Moscow region.

Employees were ordered to switch their iPhones for smartphones running various operating systems, such as Android, its Chinese counterparts, or Aurora, an operating system built by the Russian company Open Mobile Platform, according to the publication.

One seminar attendee is cited as stating, “It’s all over for the iPhone: either toss it away or give it to the children,” according to a translation by Reuters.

Sergei Kiriyenko, the first deputy director of Russia’s presidential administration, allegedly warned the officials that they needed to replace their iPhones by April 1.

The reported directive coincides with ongoing campaign preparations for Russia’s next presidential election in 2024. Apple already barred imports into Ukraine shortly after Russia invaded the country last year.

A week after Russia invaded Ukraine last year, Apple stopped selling items to Russia. Yet, sources indicated a few months later that Russians were still purchasing the latest iPhone 14 through permitted parallel importation routes. A few months into the conflict, Russia allegedly legalized these import programs, allowing merchants to bring goods into the country without the owner’s consent. Apple did not react immediately to a request for comment.

It’s unclear whether all Russian government officials received the same advice to sell their Apple iPhones, despite the fact that it was allegedly given to those in the Russian presidential administration.

A request for feedback from the Russian Federation Embassy in the United States did not receive a prompt response prior to publication. According to Reuters, Kremlin press secretary Dmitry Peskov told reporters that smartphones should not be used for official business.

He argued that regardless of whether it runs Android or iOS, smartphones all have rather clear mechanisms. They are not, of course, employed in formal capacities.

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