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Maria Butina Selling Russian Cell Phones to Beat Apple Boycott

In response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Apple is suspending sales of all of its products in Russia and restricting Russian apps:

The company said in a statement that it is “deeply concerned” about the Russian invasion and that in response, it has “paused all product sales” in the country. Apple also said it has moved to limit access to digital services, such as Apple Pay, inside Russia, and restricted the availability of Russian state media applications outside the country.

“Last week, we stopped all exports into our sales channel in the country. Apple Pay and other services have been limited. RT News and Sputnik News are no longer available for download from the App Store outside Russia,” Apple said. “And we have disabled both traffic and live incidents in Apple Maps in Ukraine as a safety and precautionary measure for Ukrainian citizens” [Brian Fung, “Apple Suspends All Product Sales in Russia,” CNN, 2022.03.01].

No word yet on whether Apple will take the additional step of disabling all existing iPhones and Macbooks in Russia, but just imagine the chaos they could create with one little software update.

In response, Paul Erickson’s spy-who-loved-me, now Russian State Duma Deputy Maria Butina, is hawking an iPhone replacement for loyal Russians, the Russian-military-funded AYYA-T1 smartphone from Russian state company Rostec:

At the price Butina cites of 15,000 rubles and the current exchange rate of 114 rubles to the dollar, you could grab yourself this handheld monument to socialism and imperialism $132. A November 2021 report listed these specs:

The device is coming with an octa-core processor Helio P70, 6.5-inch screen with 60 Hz refresh rate, 4/64 GB memory arrangement, 12 and 5 MP digitally stabilized cameras and fast charged 4000 mAh battery. There is also support for NFC and a fingerprint reader. The most interesting thing about the AYYA T1 smartphone is its OS which is based on Jolla’s Sailfish. Smartecosystem is using Aurora OS developed by Jolla for the Russian government back in 2019, but they said they are also testing OS developed by Kaspersky Labs [“Russian AYYA T1 Based on Aurora OS Has Physical Button Against Wiretapping,”, 2021.11.13].

O.K., when a Russian spy tells you a Russian phone funded by the Russian military has a button to prevent wiretapping, do not believe her, and do not press that button!


  1. sx123 2022-03-04 07:50

    I think it’s a bit of BS that companies and the US govt are targeting/sanctioning Russian citizens, who probably have nothing to do with Putin’s decisions.

    You want Apple, Google, and others withholding products based on who holds office of the President of the US and because of decisions he/she makes?

    To me it seems sanctions end up hurting average citizens the most (who are unlikely to rise up against leadership), and in the long run, they will hate the US.

    Our sanctions have probably already destroyed the lives of many Russians. Now who are the evil ones?

    And not just Russia. How about all the other countries we’ve put sanctions on in the past? They aren’t writing us any thank you letters.

  2. jerry 2022-03-04 08:04

    Oh boo hoo, not to get the latest gadget, how terrible. How about wheat and corn? What will happen when people starve out not because of sanctions, but because Ukraine and Russia will not be able to produce those two grains?

    Will we still be stuck in the mindset of ethanol to waste those food products? I guess we will have to one day decide if we want to feed our dogs those products or eat the dogs ourselves. It truly is a dog eat dog world. You can’t eat an Apple.

  3. Richard Schriever 2022-03-04 10:59

    sx123 – Authoritarian dictators are nothing without subservient subjects. Leadership – no matter its style – is an acceded to phenomena. If the will not (or cannot) follow, he cannot lead. Regardless of ideology, the function of leadership REQUIRES (needs) followers.

  4. Mark Anderson 2022-03-04 11:03

    She still longs for Sioux Falls Cory. I believe we should treat Russian citizens just like Rafael Nadal treats Medvedev. Beat them and then give them a pat on the back.

  5. cibvet 2022-03-04 12:36

    I think some miss the point when worrying that sanctions hurt the average citizen. Where do you think the dead soldiers are recruited from? (civilian population)Who do you think suffers the most causalities in a war? ( civilian population) If you answer those questions honestly, then ask yourself who starts wars. Certainly not the average citizen who for many, the price is death and it is not from the lack of cell phones. Of course, sanctions hurt the average person the most, just as trump’s useless sanctions on China hurt the farmers, but none died in a war of choice.

  6. All Mammal 2022-03-04 13:38

    I don’t like the thought of my distant relatives being punished for their leader. Just think of what we would have had to endure for our ex president’s transgressions. And how justified his victims would feel taking it out on us.

    If Trump could assassinate Iran’s Qasem Soleimani with a drone, it would save a lot of lives and infrastructure to drop something through Putin’s teeny nugget and be done with him. It would not be wise to just piss him off and let him go to ground and always be looking over the shoulder wondering when he will pop out like a jack-in-the-box.

    A tiny poison ice bullet that will melt after penetrating his skin and no trace of what got him. Venom would befit the snake.

  7. John 2022-03-04 14:22

    The “good” news from Russia keeps rolling in.
    Auto companies Hyundai, Rennault, and others shut down their Russian plants because they are unable to acquire semiconductors.
    Other plants and mining operations are shut down.
    VW’s wiring supplier in the Ukraine isn’t working, obviously, so an auto factory in Germany is shut down.
    Farmers need to plant soon or the world will have a little food shortage, presuming the Black Sea ports will be open in 2022. (Russia and Ukraine import seeds – so that’s a another problem. It’s acute for potatoes, importing over >50% of those seeds.)

  8. Arlo Blundt 2022-03-04 16:40

    Richard is right. As a result of this war, Putins followers will have to suffer as they are responsible for their government’s actions. I cannot fathom folks like Sx123 and the infamous John Dale who sympathize with the Russians and support the evil Putin. Remember the most admired person by the Russian people is Josef Stalin, who murdered and starved tp death, nearly 100 million Russian citizens. Second is Putin, though he has plenty of opposition. A change has to come in Russia.He cannot continue to terrorize the world.

  9. sx123 2022-03-04 17:08

    @Arlo; we’ve had sanctions on some countries for many years, and no change to their leadership. Historically, sanctions haven’t achieved primary objectives and have mostly hurt regular people caught up in the mix. I have history as evidence of the lack of effectiveness of sanctions. We need a better tool.

  10. sx123 2022-03-04 17:14

    @Arlo; also, please don’t say I “support the evil Putin.” That is simply a false statement. I do not support “the evil Putin.” My comments on sanctions hurting the wrong people are simply derived from historical evidence.

  11. Mark Anderson 2022-03-04 18:33

    Well sx123, sanctions don’t work against North Korea, but Russia? They’ve seen the promised land and won’t back the crazy Putin for long. If they do, then screw them. Sanctions away.

  12. Arlo Blundt 2022-03-04 18:41

    Sx123…I’m with Mark.

  13. Cory Allen Heidelberger Post author | 2022-03-05 07:56

    SX123, I’ve been to Russia and met lots of interesting people. I don’t want to hurt any of them.

    However, let’s think back to the 1980s when Bishop Tutu called for sanctions against South Africa to push for an end to apartheid. Were those sanctions just?

    What action can we take against a nation that is violating human rights and international law that does not in some way trigger harms to that nation’s civilians?

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