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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Putin Ponders High-Tech Council

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President Vladimir Putin may form an expert council to draft policy in the high-tech sector after meeting with computer and technology specialists last week.

The meeting Friday in the presidential library focused on ways to develop Russia's technology sector.

"The discussion focused on how to change the direction of the country," said Anatoly Karachinsky, president of the International Business Systems group. "We at present are intensely using natural resources, but at this meeting, for the first time in many years, there was a discussion of how to begin making use of our enormous human potential."

This was Karachinsky's third meeting with Putin and other business leaders.

At the first two meetings, industry leaders spoke about the concrete problems of their companies, Karachinsky said. But Friday's discussions had a more general character, he said.

"A large part of the discussion was dedicated to ways government bodies can begin to exploit our technology and what concrete steps should be taken to do that," said Olga Dergunova, head of Microsoft Russia.

"After Okinawa [the location of the G-8 summit in July 2000], the subject of high technology was revived in Russia," Putin said. "But the level of the development of the 'new economy' does not correspond to the importance of the problem."

The high-tech sector accounts for some 0.6 percent of gross national product. In developed countries, it is 4 percent to 6 percent, Putin said.

According to material prepared for the meeting, there are 1.3 million programmers in Russia — an enormous number, taking into consideration that there are 1 million computer specialists in Japan and 2.2 million in the United States.

If the matter goes as far as an expert council for high-tech issues, Putin knows where to look — the companies at the meeting, which included:

  • Yandex, which controls one of the most popular portals and search engines on the Russian Internet — offering such services like free e-mail and free hosting (Narod.ru).

  • IBS, one of the largest Russian companies in the sphere of system integration. Among its clients are Mezhregiongaz, Russian Aluminum and other large Russian companies and state structures.

  • Kaspersky Lab, the most famous Russian producer of anti-virus programs, controlling some 50 percent of the market. Among its clients are the presidential administration, the Federal Governmental Communication and Information Agency and the Central Bank.

  • The Technological Center, a state-owned, scientific technical center that is active in the design and production of electronic components for computer technology.

  • Microsoft Russia, the Russian division of Microsoft that in recent years has managed to become the supplier of OC Windows for large companies such as Sberbank and LUKoil.

    Also participating were computer maker Kraftway, whose clients include the Tax Ministry, 1C, a producer of programs for business and one of the main designers of accounting programs, and Parallel Graphic, a designer of programs for graphics on the Internet.

    According to a presidential representative, the companies themselves decided who would take part in the meeting.