Multiple reports in Russian media say Intel, which had suspended operations in Russia and Belarus due to US sanctions imposed for the war in Ukraine, has resumed allowing drivers and software downloads in the country. In the aftermath of US sanctions, Russian users were previously unable to download Intel software. The report also shows that Microsoft has quietly re-enabled Windows 11 automatic updates for Russian users.
We have reached out to Intel and the company issued the following statement: Tom’s Hardware:
There have been no recent changes to our operations. Intel will continue to comply with all applicable export controls and sanctions in the countries in which we operate. This includes compliance with sanctions and export controls against Russia and Belarus issued by the United States and its allies.Access to resources that meet your driver update needs, such as Intel Download Center When Intel Download Support Assistant (IDSA), is part of Intel’s warranty obligations. “
Intel initially blocked the download of the software mentioned in the statement in Russia, but restored access late last year, according to sources close to the matter. This justifies Intel’s statement that the change is not “recent”. Intel’s Driver and Support Assistant (DSA) downloads are now available free of charge for Russian users due to Intel’s warranty obligations.
According to Russian media reports, the first block on Intel’s downloads will start on February 25, 2022 and will likely be based on the user’s geographic location. So neither individuals nor companies in Russia could access downloads from Intel’s official site, so they used VPNs to spoof his IP address, used torrents, and drivers stored on various forums. I had to find a copy of According to Russian media, “experts” claimed that Intel’s block prevented the company from fulfilling its warranty obligations to Russian users.
CNews (Russian Media) reported being able to access the Intel Download Portal without IP spoofing as of January 11, 2023. However, the main Intel Russia site is still not directly accessible, so I had to go through Yandex or Google to find the download section.
Interestingly, driver updates seem to be available only through automatic download tools. The Driver and Support Assistant software, which automatically installs or updates drivers, is free to use, but outlets say Intel doesn’t allow direct driver downloads unless you first register and create a profile on Intel’s Russian website. They claim they don’t allow it. Not allowed from Russian IP addresses.
The report also claims that Microsoft has quietly resumed allowing Windows 11 updates in the country, despite not allowing downloads of the operating system. We have reached out to Microsoft for comment and will update as necessary.
The report certainly has a Russian propaganda feel to it, depicting a return to normalcy in the country. The CNews report also welcomes the so-called “parallel imports” to Russia and the resulting surge in Intel products readily available at Russian online retailers.
Parallel imports are gray market imports, meaning they are not approved by the company that makes the product. Russia decriminalized and encouraged these imports under US sanctions, so Intel, Bypassing restrictions on products from companies such as AMD and Apple.