Vladimir Putin's Computer Is Still Running on 18-year-old Windows XP, Report Says

A Russian news site has claimed that President Vladimir Putin is still using a discontinued operating system on his office computer, software which is also technically banned for Russian government officials.

Open News reported Monday that the president is still using Windows XP and Office 2003 on his computer, which Microsoft largely stopped updating in April 2014.

Open Media said Windows XP is in use on Putin's office desktop computer and the machine at his Novo-Ogaryovo official residence west of Moscow. The website cited Kremlin press service photographs published this fall as evidence for the conclusion.

The Moscow Times noted that Russian officials are supposedly not allowed to use foreign software. This is part of Moscow's push to decouple from foreign systems to strengthen state security and build a budding technological sector.

Open News linked to Defense Ministry documents showing that Windows XP was the last Microsoft operating system approved for government use. Windows 10 is also certified, though only for computers that do not store state secrets.

The Russian government said in 2015 that it intended to replace all Microsoft and Apple software with domestic systems by 2030, with the switchover beginning from 2025.

But The Moscow Times noted that the process has suffered delays. Putin's presidential office reportedly postponed switchover plans last year after the development new Russian operating system fell behind schedule.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov did not explain to Open News why Putin appears to be using old Windows software. Newsweek has contacted the Russian government to ask for clarification on the Open News report.

Putin is notably technology-averse, refusing to use smartphones and remaining skeptical of the internet. The president appears to rely on more traditional forms of communication, though prompted derision when spotted using a chunky cell phone in 2010.

Though he may not personally indulge, Putin is well aware of the power of modern technology. Earlier this month, the government introduced legislation banning the sale of any smartphone that does not use Russian-made software and apps. The new law will come into force in July 2020.

The strongman leader has also moved to insulate Russia from the internet. In April Putin introduced measures that would allow his government to cut the country off from foreign servers, severing Russia from the rest of the world whenever the Kremlin deems it necessary. The measures came into force in November.

Dubbed a "sovereign internet" bill by loyalist Russian media, critics said the move would allow Putin to strengthen his authoritarian control over the country and make it easier for the government to censor the internet for citizens.

Vladimir Putin, Russia, Windows XP, technology, outdated
Russian President Vladimir Putin is pictured during a visit to a factory on December 13, 2019 in Naberezhnye Chelny, Russia. Mikhail Svetlov/Getty Images/Getty