WTF?! What should a government do when its country faces a shortage of IT professionals? Pay attention to the tech-savvy prisoners, of course. This is the path that Russia is forced to take due to the fact that many of its computer specialists are leaving the country after the invasion of Ukraine.

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KrebsonSecurity reports that Russia’s Federal Penitentiary Service announced last month that it plans to use imprisoned IT professionals sentenced to forced labor as remote workers for local commercial companies, a plan that has been proposed by Russian businessmen trying to fill IT roles.

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Russian state media reports that almost 95,000 IT vacancies have remained unfilled in Russia since March 21. And although this is 25% less than the previous month, the reduction is only due to the fact that companies are postponing projects after budget revisions – Western sanctions have undoubtedly played a role, too.

According to the estimates of the Russian Association for Electronic Communications (RAEC), from 70,000 to 100,000 IT specialists will leave Russia for foreign countries, the most attractive of which are the USA, Germany, Georgia, Cyprus and Canada.

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The BBC reports that the Russian penitentiary system currently holds almost 875,000 prisoners. This is about 615 prisoners for every 100,000 inhabitants, second in the world after the US, where there are 737 prisoners per 100,000 people. It is not known exactly how many Russian prisoners are computer savvy.

In accordance with RBC, the Federal Penitentiary Service of Russia uses forced labor in 117 correctional facilities in organizations in 76 regions of Russia. The average salary of convicts is about 20,000 rubles a month, or about 281 US dollars.

In other Russian news, earlier this week we heard that Russian troops in Ukraine $5 million worth of John Deere stolen agricultural machines from the country, but found that they had been remotely disabled, rendering the equipment useless.