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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Government Planning to Plug Up Brain Drain

The government is seeking to slow the brain drain of computer specialists and increase software production, a top official said Friday, in an effort that some hope will help diversify the country's oil-dependent economy.

Dmitry Milovantsev, deputy minister for information technology and communications, said the government might consider introducing tax-free zones and the creation of places similar to California's renowned Silicon Valley, home to some of the world's leading hardware and software developers.

The government will discuss those and other measures at a Nov. 18 meeting on the subject, he said.

Milovantsev said the measures ideally would make the sector attractive enough to slow the large-scale emigration of IT specialists. He could not estimate how many IT specialists were currently working in the United States, Germany, Netherlands and Israel, but said there were "definitely a lot."

"Russia has the highest percentage of highly qualified engineers in the world, however the country's share in the international software market is only 0.6 percent," Milovantsev said.

Milovantsev acknowledged that there is a lot of skepticism about the ministry's initiative to promote software production.

"Then again, no one believed cellphones would take off in Russia, and now we have a 42 percent penetration rate," he said.