The last few months have been witness to the Ukraine crisis, with antigovernment demonstrations in the wake of former President Viktor Yanukovych tightening ties with the Kremlin, his fleeing the country following a rebellion against him, and the annexation of Crimea by Russia. Tensions continue between Ukraine, which plans new presidential elections for May 25, and Russia. Just today, the mayor of Kharkiv, reportedly an opponent of the pro-West protests, was shot in the back, while the U.S. is imposing new sanctions on Russian government officials, including two members of President Putin’s inner circle and 17 companies linked to that inner circle.
Obviously, there are big issues at stake here about sovereignty and nation destabilization, but the situation also has implications for the IT sector. That includes the advancement of semantic projects around the world.
The Semantic Web Blog, for example, recently heard from a contractor working on a semantic project for a website that the effort has fallen a bit behind schedule due to, among other things, geopolitical events. One of its developers was a Russian national working in Ukraine who left the country when Putin annexed Crimea, he said.
Another source who preferred to remain anonymous, and whose semantic technology and IT outsourcing company is located in another Eastern European country, said that his company has already been contacted by a few businesses in the U.S. that had been securing services from software companies in both the Ukraine and Russia. Because of the situation, he said, these companies told him that they are now exploring their options in Eastern European countries that are members of the European Union. In such locations, including his home country, they can find great engineers and still quite competitive rates on the labor side, he noted.
That said, it was clear that that wasn’t the road to new business that this semantic tech executive prefers to travel down, as he noted that World War II and the Soviet occupation of Eastern Europe is still within the living memory of people in these countries.