More interesting tidbits from my recent work on Russia for VCJ:
The Russian government truly wants to stimulate the technology industry within its boarders—at least that’s what it is planning to do. The government has earmarked $10 billion for aerospace research and development in aerospace, $6.1 billion for electronics and another $5.3 billion for nanotechnology in the coming years. Obviously many of these technologies could have multiple applications. The Russian government spent $405 million for a GPS system to run parallel to the one run by the U.S., for example. That investment could help mobile phone users get better driving directions, or to better guide air to surface missiles. The country is still one of the top weapons producers in the world—a business that has flourished under Vladimir Putin. The country increased its production of weaponry and military equipment by almost 25% in 2007, according to one of its deputy ministers. Russia has allocated $189 billion for its 2007-2010 armaments program. The U.S. budget, by comparison, set aside $84.2 billion for armament procurement in 2007.
Tech Parks, Datacenters
Russian scientists and programmers are some of the best in the world—the only problem is that many of them are leaving to take jobs in other countries. Russian President Vladimir Putin figured out a solution when visited Bangalore in 2004: technology parks. So the Ministry of Information Technology and Communications has set up several economic incentives for companies to locate in one of the seven to 10 parks it will start building in 2008. But the country has a long way to go to catch up. India exported $30 billion worth of software services in the fiscal year that ended on March 31, according to India’s National Association of Software and Service Companies. Russia exported services worth $2 billion, the Communications Ministry says.