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Facial Recognition Systems to Be Introduced at Russian Land Borders

Kirill Zykov / Moskva News Agency

The Russian authorities have invited tenders for a contract worth 830 million rubles ($11.3 million) for the provision of facial recognition technology at some of its land borders, according to an announcement on Russia's public procurement portal reported by independent Russian media outlet Polygon on Thursday.

The facial recognition technology, which is to be installed at multiple Russian border crossings with China, Kazakhstan, Poland and Lithuania, is intended for the cross-checking of traveler identities with data stored in a "biometric database," though the tender call gave no further details.

The delivery of the new technology is due by Nov. 25, 2023, according to the tender announcement.

The move to modernize Russia's dozens of land border crossings comes in the wake of the huge Exodus of citizens seen in late 2022 after President Vladimir Putin announced a "partial" mobilization of military reservists to bolster Russian forces in Ukraine.

Fearing detention should they attempt to leave the country from one of its major airports, many Russians fleeing mobilization — and even political activists under house arrest — managed to leave Russia by exiting through one of its remote border crossings due to issues with the current video surveillance systems used by the immigration authorities.

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