Apple is, of course, a U.S. company. Samsung is headquartered in South Korea.
Russia did not proactively announce the change. Rather, journalists first noticed the change during a cabinet meeting. Minister Nikolai Nikiforov confirmed the chang "took place not so long ago." Nikiforov added that the new Samsung tablets were "specially protected devices that can be used to work with confidential information." It is unclear if the minister was speaking solely about Samsung's Knox software, or something customized for Russia's use.
"Some of the information at government meetings is confidential in nature and these devices fully meet these demands and have gone through the strictest system of certification."
Nikiforov denied the change was related at all to the Crimea issue. He said, "We are not proposing any sanctions. However, he mentioned that reports that "American special services... will significantly increase the volume of information they intercept of course causes serious concern to many governmental clients. This obviously orientates Russian clients, primarily state ones, to be very choosy about their partners in IT."
Because of this, Nikiforov said, South Korean firms such as Samsung, along with Chinese ones, might be interesting to Russia because of this.