Re: Anymore proof needed that
Only partially related to spyware.
As a result of the sanctions regime Microsoft cannot sell Windows, services and support to the Russian government. This would have had little effect in the days of 95-2000 and up to XP or thereabouts as you could power it up without the net. From Vista/7 onwards the "need to be on the net" functionality is so pervasive that it is practically impossible to have a PC which does not phone home (this is the only spyware relationship here). From there on it is license violation and mandatory lockdown by MSFT. If it does not do that for all cases where it has determined that a PC is used in a setting disallowed by USA sanctions it is looking at BN size fines.
So it looks like they definitely remote-bricked enough PCs to get the Russians p*ssed. In theory, it will make both sides put their money where their mouth is. Russia to actually develop its economy and local industry (as proclaimed by Putin) and MSFT not doing business with sanctions entities.
In practice, I would not be so sure. It is quite likely that the sanctions will be worked around via a thrid party laundry mechanism the same way as they were circumvented for Iran using Chinese resellers.