All-Russian census needs spare parts from China

Import substitution fig leaf

The All-Russian census is at risk due to interruptions in the supply of Chinese equipment. Although Rosstat was supposed to get a Russian tablet with a Russian operating system, it turned out that “import substitution” still depends on imports from China.

Российский планшет Aquaris
The Russian tablet Aquaris

The main contractor of Rosstat for the supply of Russian tablets for the census was Rostelecom. In November 2019, this company held a tender for the supply of 360,000 tablets, but its results were canceled by administrative procedures in order to push through a “domestic manufacturer”, namely, Aquarius. At the same time, the purchase price increased from 5.76 to 7.20 billion rubles. However, when it came to supplies, it turned out that the widely publicized Aquarius tablet with the Made in Russia label was still assembled from Chinese components. Quarantine was announced at enterprises in the Chinese province of Hubei because of the coronavirus epidemic; as a result, supplies of office equipment and accessories to hundreds of consumers, including Russian companies, were blocked. Due to problems in Hubei, it is impossible to start assembling the necessary batch of “Russian” tablets. And before the census, just over half a year is left: it should start on October 1.

The Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade hastened to make reassuring statements, but officials were still forced to admit the risk:

“So far, the delay is not critical. If the quarantine is extended, there are certain risks. We don’t know how long the situation will last. ”

Poor import substitution

The Russian Aquarius tablet was advertised last spring. It was emphasized that it runs on the Russian operating system Aurora. However, in fact, both the tablet and the system are Russian only in the sense of a “screwdriver assembly”. A tablet with the inscription «Made in Russia» is actually made only in China, and in the Russian Federation there is an assembly of finished Chinese parts. With the same success we could say «Russian» about Ford, Volkswagen or Renault cars assembled at the respective Russian plants. As for the Aurora operating system, its real name is Sailfish OS. This system dates back to the MeeGo mobile platform based on the Linux kernel and was developed by the Finnish company Jolla, which was then acquired by Rostelecom. In other words, the Made in Russia label turned out to be a foreign product that was bought by a Russian company.

Import substitution in Russia fails in pharmaceuticals, industry, and even in the military sphere, but state propagandists invariably report on ghostly “successes”. Fraud at all levels of government instead of the real development of domestic industry will inevitably lead to a national catastrophe.