Zoom Video Communications, has banned its distributors from selling access to the online conference service to government agencies and state-owned companies, in Russia and the CIS, because of the risk of sanctions from the United States, according to experts. This was reported by Russian media outlet, Kommersant, with reference to the Russian distributor of the company RightConf.
Kommersant reviewed the letter, from RightConf, which states that “Zoom Video Communications Inc. revokes from the Russian partner the authorization to sell the service for government agencies and organizations with government beneficiaries.”
The general director of RightConf, Andrey Petrenko, confirmed the authenticity of the letter, stressing that the work on the existing contracts will continue. According to him, Zoom’s requirements apply to both, the Russian Federation and the CIS countries. “Now we are clarifying the details of further work, I do not exclude that the company will make a separate product for the public sector” added Petrenko. Zoom did not respond to Kommersant’s request.
The head office of Zoom Video Communications in the United States, clarified to TASS, that the information that Zoom has banned the sale of the paid version to Russian government agencies “is based on a message from one of the agencies involved in sales on a partnership basis,” and noted that they were “clarifying this information.” and would state their conclusions after conducting their own verification. Russian universities that have purchased Zoom services may be the first to be affected.
This is not the first time that a major company has banned sales to Russia. In December 2020, the distributor of Microsoft, Softline, stopped sales of the software, to Bauman Moscow State Technical University, because the university falls under US sanctions for training weapons specialists. Most likely, Zoom’s decision is also associated with sanctions risks, notes TrueConf Development Director Dmitry Odintsov: “Given that the United States is the main market for Zoom, the company is trying to rule out any reasons that could undermine their image.”