Serious claims made against OnlyOffice

I just found this discussion regarding OnlyOffice in the Privacy subreddit. The post claims that OnlyOffice is a Russian company with connections to the Russian government and military. Moreover, the post claims that OnlyOffice is actively trying to hide its association with Russia and instead claiming it is a Latvian company. Since PrivacyGuides recommends OnlyOffice on its site, it should investigate these claims and possibly decide removing OnlyOffice as a recommendation.

The original post doesnt seem specific in its ties with the military. The connections are tenuous at best.

Could it be shady? Sure it can be. I dont know how to prove or disprove it in a remote location. This seems to be solvable only by someone who can actually go to Latvia and maybe visit their offices and meet their devs?

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Which is the reason I removed it, while some of the developers may in fact be Russian, the connections do somewhat seem conflated.

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Its open source I dont see an issue with using it.

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Well the server side may not match the open source component, however the same applies to any software as a service (SaSS) product. We don’t distinctly not recommend Microsoft Office either. In some cases on a Windows platform that may make more sense. We note that on the page.

Hello there,

I am the OP of the original post which was removed from r/privacyguides already unfortunately.
The ties to Russian gov and military are explained in the statements from the Ukrainians too. But you can look for yourself on this Russian database (run it through a translation tool of your choice) which is not updated continously and does not list all their partnerships but here are just two:

1. Ministry of Information Technologies and Communications of the Nizhny Novgorod Region
2. St. Petersburg Cadet Military Corps (SPbKVK)

Here another entry for the Russian office suite, it states:

…Among the users of P7-Office are government agencies, educational institutions and commercial organizations.

I literally explained how the office in Latvia does not even exist and is merely being used as a front to enter the international market. The Ukranian firms that decided to do some digging said the very same.

You could search the entire country of Latvia, it’s not that big of a place and you would find absolutely no office of OnlyOffice whatsoever…

I think we might actually remove the entire section. Most of these recommendations are “legacy recommendations”.

There’s nothing really privacy conscientious about these recommendations (none of them support E2EE for instance). We allow things like Microsoft Office for example to be mentioned because of MDAG, that recommendation in itself we were looking at moving to the Windows guide.

In the case of LibreOffice, does it even need recommending? Most Linux distributions aimed at the desktop market include that (Ubuntu, Fedora etc).

What I do want to make clear though, is we wouldn’t be removing it, because “some of the developers are Russian”. I don’t think critiquing software based on the nationality of the developers is really all that helpful.

Also I would say that this forum is probably a better venue for such discussion/debate. Reddit tend to encourage very tribal political comments which go off the rails quite quickly. I suspect that might be the reason /r/privacy removed it.


What I do want to make clear though, is we wouldn’t be removing it, because “some of the developers are Russian”. I don’t think critiquing software based on the nationality of the developers is really all that helpful.

That is true but in this case, they went through great lengths to try to conceal their very base. Would you say the same for North Korean developers?

What I may suggest is adding Collabora office (cloud version of LibreOffice) and Cryptee, which uses E2EE and is based in Estonia for real.

Also Cryptpad which is already on that section uses E2EE on some of their instances as well AFAIK.

Cryptee is actually mentioned on the Cloud Storage page. I do seem to remember a discussion about moving this to the productivity page. As for Collabora office, this probably should be mentioned as a subitem of LibreOffice, as we do with things like Signal/Molly and Bitwarden/Vaultwarden.

Russians are not the russian government…

It’s been known since ever that onlyoffice has russian developers, I don’t see what is the problem.

OnlyOffice on your desktop does not snitch your data to remote servers afaik unlike Google and Microsoft products.

You all miss out on the fact it litterly says the russian product is a fork:

In 2019, the key products of the company were the OnlyOffice office package and its fork P7-Office.

– P7-Office (formerly New Communication Technologies, NKT)


I think there point might have been about the cloud offerings. I have had a look at that site and it feels more like a tender website, ie that these departments selected OnlyOffice for their needs.

This may have been for tax purposes or some other reason. It’s not really apparent they’re “hiding” that they are Russian, as it’s fairly easy to find out.

I have been in touch with the developers via GitHub and email in the past they never made it a secret they are Russians. I really do not see the point of this discussion tbh.

Sure if you use a cloud product you should ALWAYS asses who has access to what, nothing new. I run a onlyoffice instance for some on Hetzner and yes it can’t be used for everything but for a lot of things this is perfectly fine. You have to evaluate or to speak technically: do a DPIA as required by law.

No I don’t miss that point at all. It was a fork that was created due to sanctions and IT import substitution. OnlyOffice does hide that it is a Russian product and that’s a fact. Nowhere on there website does it state any links to Russia. It says it is based and headquartered in Latvia which is a literal lie.

And you claim to have been in touch with the OnlyOffice devs which for sure totally will give you very objective replies…

Did you also ask them about the current war like the Ukranians did? The ones that terminated all their business relations with OnlyOffice and also made it a point to warn the rest of the world about it?

So in your opinion, if i understand you well, any company with russian employees needs to make some statement? WATF man?! Think about what you are actually saying here.

You don’t understand how war works man, ordinary people aren’t the problem.


That’s also not what this is about. I don’t care what nationality the developers have. They could be North Koreans for all I care. If it were North Koreans based in Latvia who cares? But if it was North Koreans who use Latvia as a fake address and are really based in North Korea you would lose your minds.

The very same thing is true for OnlyOffice and Russians however.

Ordinary people don’t generally have business relationships with the state and military of their country and ordinary people don’t use fake addresses in other countries to appear like they are based in that country when they are clearly not.

You seem to misunderstand how these regimes work. Any company has relationship with the government, not because they want to… it’s not like they will have a choice.

And as for fake addresses. You will be surprised how many companies have a so called virtual office. Reasons for this usually are privacy, or tax avoidance, or actually to bypass being subject to some regime…


Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia are known to allow people to set up a virtual company to allow developers to work around the globe and become digital citizen so they pay tax there. It’s a very common thing amongst young companies. Also the UK bank Revolut did this who has a Lithuanian banking license. Owned also by a russian living in london.

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Not to mention wikipedia:

OnlyOffice (formerly TeamLab), stylized as ONLYOFFICE, is a free software office suite developed by Ascensio System SIA, a subsidiary of “New Communication Technologies”, a company from Russia, but headquartered in Riga, Latvia.[2][3]

In Russian market branded as P7-Office.[4] It features online document editors, platform for document management, corporate communication, mail and project management tools.

It’s not exactly hidden there.

This is not true at all by the looks if it, it’s not a fork but rather a trading name.

Keep in mind a lot of western businesses haven’t terminated all business relations with Russia either. The fact is when an organization selects something like an office suite, simply “changing” isn’t an option, given training and how it currently integrates into their workflow.

It’s not particularly uncommon they would choose a locally home-grown piece of software for an office suite used by government institutions. That website doesn’t infer that there is a close collaboration. It appears they are just clients.

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