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Dmitry Medvedev, recently inaugurated as Russia’s third President, has already demonstrated his firm intention to develop Russian IT industry. He started next day after inauguration by reorganizing the Ministry of Mass Communication and Mass Media and by appointing a new Minister. The previous Minister Leonid Reiman was appointed as one of the president’s nearest advisors, and is now in charge of forming the President's Council on the “Information Society” project. The first task of the Council is to implement the Electronic Government scheme (to be launched in 2010). The Council also plans to reduce customs duties on high-tech equipment and to introduce tax benefits for software R&D and IT outsourcing services providers.
Russia is strongly determined to shake off the image of a country with underdeveloped IT infrastructure and establish itself as a world’s high-tech leader. Russian government are undertaking huge efforts to bring the country into the information era, including the abovementioned ”Electronic Government” scheme and a project to introduce computers into all Russian schools. By 1 September 2008, 95 % of Russian schools will have been equipped with the latest workstations connected to the Internet. When asked by a Microsoft top manager what targets he sets for Russian IT, Mr. Medvedev remarked that, in his opinion, global IT companies should become the driving force “that will unite the digital world of the 21st century”.
On July 17th Dmitry Medvedev held a State Council presidium meeting in Petrozavodsk. The topic was “Building Information Society in Russia”. The president stressed that the country counts on its ability to build a strong information technology sector. He mentioned that Russia occupies the third place in the world market of IT outsourcing services providers. President intends that 20% of world brands will have Russian background by 2015, the contribution of the hi-tech sector to the Russian economy will increase up to 1.5% of GDP, and Russia itself will become one of the world leaders, with a strong national software development industry.
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