Russian businesses get shut out from Microsoft cloud services at the end of this month – new EU sanctions come into effect

Microsoft Office 365 rebranding
(Image credit: Microsoft)

To comply with the EU regulations outlined in December 2023, Microsoft will cease the provision of cloud services to Russian organizations at the end of this month. This was originally meant to happen on March 20, but extra time has been given to impacted organizations to migrate to alternative solutions. 

As a result of the above implementation of EU sanctions, organizations in Russia will no longer have access to best-in-class Microsoft products including Office 365 apps, OneDrive, Microsoft Teams, Azure, SharePoint, Visual Studio, SQL Server, as well as LinkedIn apps and Media Player development kits.

There have been no reports indicating that Microsoft will be restricting its cloud services to individuals, and hence they remain accessible to the general Russian public for now. Meanwhile, the Russian government has made efforts to promote domestic alternatives to ensure the continued smooth operations of private companies and organizations. 

The Russian Ministry of Digital Transformation, Communication, and Mass Media anticipated this kind of move by foreign cloud service providers like Microsoft, Amazon, Google, and Oracle. Thus, last year it started to advise Russian organizations to make the transition to domestically made alternatives. No specific domestic alternatives were named or pointed to - so we don't know how the affected organizations will cope. The EU regulations specifically mention imposing a ban on providing software for managing a wide range of essential business operations. 

This latest imposition of sanctions comes as a result of Russia's war against Ukraine, and the aggression which has continued for over two years. Sanctions are usually used against countries in such situations with some success. Typically some tech products avoid sanctions by being shipped via third-party distributors and sold in Russia, but other important sanction policies cannot be circumvented, such as the SWIFT ban preventing online transactions via banks. 

On the hardware side of tech, reports suggest that China and Russia still enjoy component imports for chipmaking equipment, PCs, and servers. Interestingly the sanctions have also provided profits for scalpers from other nations, and we have seen some smugglers get caught, their goods confiscated, and facing likely legal proceedings. Meanwhile, it is thought some Russian entities subscribe to Microsoft cloud services using foreign accounts or using other bypass methods.

Freelance News Writer
  • ekio
    That’s one of the reason cloud services are a scam. A few corporate executives can screw you up overnight if they decide to.
    Open source and local computing will remain the key fundamentals of computing freedom.
  • newtechldtech
    It is funny that MS is blocking cloud and at te same time dont mind selling Windows licenses to Russia ...
  • USAFRet
    newtechldtech said:
    It is funny that MS is blocking cloud and at te same time dont mind selling Windows licenses to Russia ..."In early March 2022, Microsoft suspended sales of its products and provision of new services in Russia and Belarus"
  • Geef
    This is the type of reason I bought a full copy of Office 2019. Not required to be online to use it. Still works just fine.
  • vanadiel007
    I am sure Russia is very concerned about this.
  • endocine
    All the MS cloud data centers for Russia are located in Ukraine, which is ironic