Atlassian toughens stance on Russia after internal pressure

Australian technology giant Atlassian has apologised to staff for the way it cut hundreds of Ukrainian contractors’ access to internal systems, as it suspended sales of software in Russia and pulled any accounts linked to the Putin regime.

Atlassian, which makes collaboration software widely used in the tech sector, on Thursday announced it would halt all software sales to Russia, as well as suspend existing licenses that are state-owned or held by Russian firms that support the war. The policy announcement came after staff and media criticism about its initial response to the war, including a failure to give full-throated support to Ukraine.

Mike Cannon-Brookes, right, and Scott Farquhar of Atlassian, have now declared they stand with Ukraine.

Mike Cannon-Brookes, right, and Scott Farquhar of Atlassian, have now declared they stand with Ukraine.Credit:Louie Douvis

In an internal post seen by The Sydney Morning Herald and The AgeAtlassian executives said staff in other countries working with the Ukrainians had been surprised to start work on Monday only to find their colleagues locked out of their Atlassian accounts.

“We are sorry for the stress this caused,” the executives said. “We’re moving fast and trying to make the right decision to balance the interests of our company, our customers and our contractors. We haven’t brought you along as transparently as we should have and we’re going to do that now.”

The Ukrainian contractors, whose employer SoftServe was sent a request for comment, are still being paid despite the suspension, which Atlassian said was implemented for security reasons and the contractors’ wellbeing.

In a separate public blog post on Thursday, Atlassian co-CEOs Mike Cannon-Brookes and Scott Farquhar condemned the Russia-Ukraine conflict. “Atlassian stands with Ukraine,” the executives wrote in the blog post.

“This attack is unprovoked and a clear breach of the Geneva Convention. Ukrainian civilians are being targeted, as are public buildings, places of work, and homes – where people should feel most safe.”

Atlassian, which is typically outspoken on social issues, does not have offices in either Ukraine or Russia. However, it employs a number of Ukraine-based contractors and it also has significant numbers of Russian-speaking workers in its ranks.

The ban on software sales in Russia and suspension of licenses will not apply to small businesses in the country, it said. “We believe focusing on businesses with positions of power and influence is the best way to live our mission and values.”

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