Russia wants to force Glonass down throats

Russian oligarch Vladimir Yevtushenkov has threatened handset makers with an import ban if they don’t use Russia’s positioning system Glonass, reports Heise, citing Russian newspaper Wedomosti.

Yevtushenkov apparently said the Russian market will be closed for handsets not using a Glonass chip if a law he and his mates are lobbying for gets passed. Vladimir Putin has the hots for the law and told Yevtushenkov it’d be a spiffing idea to protect national interests.

Some believe Russia is thinking about such a law to indirectly force handset makers to open plants in the country, others fear Glonass might be used to spy on the opposition. Prices are also expected to take a hike and it is seen as highly unlikely that Apple will produce an iPhone tailored for the Russian market.

Yevtushenkov owns the majority of corporation AFK Sistema and has tried repeatedly to lay his hands on German chipmaker Infineon. End of June, Yevtushenkov asked the German Chancellery for help to start talks with Infineon, the chipmaker however was not in the least bit interested.

Back in 2006, AFK Sistema was also interested in investing in Deutsche Telekom but never followed through. The Bundesnachrichtendienst, Germany’s foreign intelligence agency, warned against any sort of tie up between AFK Sistema and Deutsche Telekom.