German Klimenko, who was recently appointed to be Vladimir Putin's special advisor on all Internet-related matters, already has some big ideas about how Russia should adjust its dealings with companies like Apple, Microsoft, and Google.
Seemingly not content to see the smartphone landscape effectively dominated by Apple and Google, Klimenko said in a recent interview that both companies should pay a whole lot more in taxes to the Russian government.
"When you buy an app from Google Play or the App Store anywhere in Europe, VAT is charged at the place of payment, but not here in our banana republic," Klimenko frustratingly explained in statements originally relayed by Bloomberg.
His solution? A revamp of the Russian tax code that would see consumers slapped with an 18% sales tax on all mobile purchases, an idea which, if implemented, would naturally direct consumers toward alternatives. If the proposed tax changes go through, the report indicates that Apple and Google might lose upwards of $3.9 billion in revenue.
Klimenko, 49, is pushing to raise taxes on U.S. companies to help level the playing field for Russian competitors such as Yandex and Mail.ru. His efforts mirror those of governments across Europe and beyond to squeeze more revenue out of Google, Apple and other multinationals with increasingly complex billing and ownership structures.
While government officials seeking to pad tax revenue is hardly earth-shattering, Klimenko's opinions on Microsoft are a bit bizarre, as he reportedly wants to ban Windows from all government computers because Microsoft "complied with sanctions over Putin's annexation of Crimea by halting all business with the peninsula..."
And without Windows getting in the way, Klimenko further adds that it's only a matter of time before the entire Russian government transitions over to Linux.
As for Google, well, Russia government officials have long had something of a hate-hate relationship with the search giant. From Klimenko's vantage point, Google's ability to track users is a "potential threat" to Russian national security.
You might also remember that Putin himself, back in April 2014, went so far as to say that the Internet was born as a "CIA project" and was continuing to operate as such.
Almost comically, world wide web founder Tim Berners-Lee responded to Putin's statement a few months later, assuring the Russian leader that "the Internet is not a CIA creation."
"It was the academic community who wired up their universities so it was put together by smart, well-meaning people who thought it was a good idea," Berners-Lee further explained.