MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russian telecoms operators will have to use foreign technology to comply with a law on storing data, two industry sources with knowledge of the matter said, even though Vladimir Putin told his government to ensure local companies produced the equipment.

FILE PHOTO: A portrait of Russian President Vladimir Putin is seen on a cover of a woman’s phone as she takes pictures during celebrations of the Russian national holiday – Defender of the Fatherland Day in Sevastopol, Crimea, February 23, 2016. REUTERS/Pavel Rebrov/File Photo

The law requires operators to store the content of users’ phone calls and text messages for six months to aid the security services. President Putin wanted home-grown technology to be used to perform the task, to boost the domestic tech industry and make telecoms systems less dependent on Western equipment.

But faced with a tight deadline to start storing the vast amounts of information, and in the absence of suitable Russian hardware, operators will have no choice but to use equipment made by foreign firms including Cisco, Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Huawei, according to the sources.

In having to resort to buying in hardware from abroad, Russia is encountering the same issues as other countries including the United States: the tech sector is a multinational endeavor and developing sophisticated systems using only home-grown gear is fraught with difficulties.

“It’s a good idea in theory to substitute imports, but you need to make a realistic assessment of the capacity of Russian firms,” said Irina Levova of Moscow-based independent think-tank the…

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