Apparently this is being driven by the highest levels:
“Rather than pay massive licensing costs to legitimise the country’s Microsoft software, then deputy prime minister (now President) Dmitry Medvedev decided on an altogether more radical route – to use Open Source, Linux-based software in all Russia’s schools.
Given the sheer scale of the country and the amount of planning, training and resources required, it is a massive enterprise.
Indeed, Medvedev has set Russia on the path to a much wider use of Open Source software: He intends it to be used across the board in the public sector and has set a completion date for the project of 2010.
There are a number of benefits to be had from Russia taking this route: No licensing costs to pay, the accelerated development of its own IT sector and the end of its reliance on software produced by its great rival, America.”
Russia certainly has the intellectual capital to make this work.