This week:

  1. New details on Digital CASA emerge;
  2. Rostelecom announced the development of a new strategy;
  3. Tajikistan vs International Postal Operators: survival of the fittest?
  4. Russia to adopt an anti-piracy bill;
  5. The launch of PosTransfer in Eurasia was announced;
  6. Russia prepares a new legislation on e-health;
  7. Moldova and Belarus increase the use of e-Signatures;
  8. Kazakhstan adopts a face recognition system.


1. Kyrgyzstan Is on the Way to Becoming a “Smart State”.

The State Committee of IT and Communications published a map that illustrates the future fiber optic network which will cover the country as part of the Digital CASA implementation. This project, one of the main sub-projects of the national digitization program “Taza Koom”, would transform Kyrgyzstan into a “Smart State”. Taza Koom consists of several components, including modernization of the regulatory framework and environment, construction of relevant infrastructure equipped with smart solutions and innovations, and training of competent specialists. To achieve the latter, for instance, Kyrgyzstan will launch an IT-academy to train new specialists and instructors.

DR comments: Previously, we informed that the World Bank had allocated $20 million USD to the Kyrgyz Government and plans to allocate additional $30 million USD this year to fund the project. The Government hopes that Kyrgyzstan will become an infrastructure hub for the entire region.

2. Russian State Telecom Operator Is Working on a New Strategy.

Rostelecom, the largest national operator, will present a new development strategy by the end of 2017. The new 2020 Strategy will align with the “Digital Economy” plan and concentrate on five areas: communications and infrastructure, e-government services, use of the Internet, integration of digital technologies, and information sovereignty. In addition, Rostelecom expressed its interest in developing e-health, information security, and cloud technologies.

3. Will Tajik State Postal Operator “Help” International Postal Operators?

In the beginning of June, Tajikistan Communication Service closed the country offices of DHL, UPS, TNT and Pony Express, the international express delivery postal services. The official reason for the closure was the lack of operating licenses for these companies. However, in the past, the state regulator did not require licenses to operate in Tajikistan.

The State Postal Operator “Pochtai Tojik”, which does have a license, came out soon after proposing cooperation with the above international postal services. “Pochtai Tojik” is interested in becoming the official branch of DHL, UPS, TNT and Pony Express and use the logistical services of those companies.

DR comments: According to our sources, the timing and nature of the ‘proposal’ point to an attempt by the state monopoly service to nudge competition from the market. Since most of the international services refused to collaborate and applied for licenses, the time it takes to obtain them will confirm whether initial assessments were accurate. DR Analytica will continue to monitor this situation.

4. What Stands Behind a New Anti-Pirate Bill in Russia?

The new anti-pirate bill that introduced blocking of “mirrors” for pirated sites passed the second reading in the State Duma. The bill is aimed at combating the illegal use of copyright material on the Internet. Introduced as an amendment to the Law “On Information, Information Technologies, and Information Protection”, the bill outlines the concept of “copies of a blocked site”. Decisions regarding whether a website is a ‘mirror’ or not will be made by the Ministry of Communications, without the need to seek a court opinion.

DR comments: Many lawyers continue to express concerns regarding the extrajudicial nature of blocking of websites in Russia. The addition of this new executive authority regarding pirated content or ‘mirror sites’ elevates the probability of abuses of power with regard to access to information and freedom of the Internet.

5. PosTransfer Will Operate in the Nine Eurasian States.

The system of postal money transfers PosTransfer will be launched in Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Moldova and Tajikistan in 2017. The service will operate on the networks of respective national postal operators. All transactions can be monitored online, including mobile applications, and funds will be available to recipients immediately after their transfer. The initiative to create this service was supported by the Universal Postal Union, a UN agency.

6. Russia Develops the E-Pharmacy Regulation.

A bill “Onselling of medicines on the Internet” has been prepared and submitted to the Russian government for review. According to the bill, only licensed pharmacies will be allowed to sell medicines online. Currently, many medicines dispensed without a doctor’s prescription could be purchased online legally. While the bill is trying to close this loophole, it might also allow the sale of prescription drugs online in the future.

DR comments: DR Analytica is monitoring the introduction of e-Health solutions in Eurasia. Check our coverage of the e-Health developments in Russia and Belarus and order your custom reports.

7. Moldovan Government Became Paperless; Belarusian Business Too.

The State Chancellery of Moldova will begin using a digital signature as part of the program “Government without paper” to facilitate the implementation of the electronic documents management system.

At the same time, according to a survey of the Main Statistical Office of Minsk, the capital of Belarus, 98.6% of Minsk companies used e-signatures in 2016. The purpose of the survey was to determine the level of ICTs usage in the private sector. In addition, the survey showed that among 3,141 companies in Minsk, 99.1% have Internet access and 95.6% of the organizations use e-mail.

8. Face Recognition System Helps Kazakhstani Law Enforcement.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs reported that the FaceControl face recognition system, which was used during the Expo 2017 in Astana, helped them to recognize and arrest twenty wanted individuals in one week. The system is using the Ministry’s database, containing 50 thousand records, and operates across 4 servers and 48 video surveillance cameras. The process of face recognition and database reconciliation takes less than a second. In addition, the system can analyze photos from social media to identify a suspect.

DR comments: Should you have any questions regarding cybersecurity issues in Eurasia, contact DR Analytica.