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Russian Silicon Valley To Be Profitable Within Seven Year
by Staff Writers
Khanty-Mansiisk, Russia (RIA Novosti) Mar 25, 2010


Russia to build its own 'Silicon Valley' near Moscow - Medvedev
A high-tech research and production hub, similar to the Silicon Valley in California, will be built in Skolkovo near Moscow, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Thursday. Medvedev said that the center's research will focus on five priority spheres: energy, information technologies, communication, biomedical research and nuclear technologies. "We will build the center where we have enough facilities to do it quickly. Time is of utmost importance here. So, we will build it in Skolkovo," Medvedev said.

The Russian president announced plans "to form a powerful center for research and development" during his annual state-of-the-nation address on November 12. Russia's second largest city of St. Petersburg, and Siberia's Tomsk and Novosibirsk, were named among the likely locations. Obninsk and Dubna, two towns near Moscow which retained a high concentration of research and development facilities from the Soviet period were also seen as possible contenders. Skolkovo will be home to an eponymous Management School, a joint project by 14 major Russian and international companies and business leaders aimed at creating the first world-class business school in Russia.

The high-tech hub will be located close to the school's campus, which is now being built from scratch in an undeveloped zone just outside Moscow. Silicon Valley, located near San Jose, California, is a term that originally referred to the region's large number of silicon chip innovators and manufacturers. Today, it is a world leading high-tech hub. In March 2006, the Russian government approved a program to create technoparks, which will incorporate high-tech enterprises in such sectors as nano-, bio-, information and other kinds of technology, as well as scientific research organizations, educational institutions providing staff for such enterprises, and other related ventures.

Russian billionaire oligarch Viktor Vekselberg in charge of coordinating the project of Skolkovo's high-tech research and production hub believes the new research center will become self-sufficient in 5-7 years.

"I believe it's extremely important this project starts on the right track from the very beginning and breaks even on its own. I hope this task will take us 5-7 years," he said on Tuesday during a committee meeting on Russia's economic modernization held in Siberia's Khanty-Mansiisk.

The construction works would start soon, according to Vekselberg, however developing a large-scaled research center and achieving the demanded scientific and research potential would take years.

Vekselberg is positive on the success of the new high-tech hub, which he called an "interesting and ambitious challenge". However he emphasized, Skolkovo's research center would succeed only if international companies participate in it.

The business tycoon said innovations and modernization are what is needed to revive the Russian economy.

Vekselberg heads a huge Russian private holding, operating in gas, oil, metallurgy, energy and nanotechnology.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has already requested the government to define a special legal status for the high-tech research and production hub, which will be built in Skolkovo, near Moscow.

"Actually, this should not be just a new piece [of the market] regulated by general rules. I believe we should think about working out special legal norms for such kind of activities," Medvedev said.

He proposed this new status be defined in short terms. "Begin working on it and do not drag the issue on because we need to form the general provisions of this special legal status by next month," the president said.

In March 2006, the Russian government approved a program to create technoparks to incorporate high-tech enterprises in such sectors as nano-, bio-, information and other kinds of technology, as well as scientific research organizations, educational institutions providing staff for such enterprises, and other related ventures.

The new Skolkovo center's research will focus on five priority spheres: energy, information technologies, communication, biomedical research and nuclear technologies.

Russian parliament approves bill to extend ban on human cloning
The upper house of the Russian parliament, the Federation Council, approved on Wednesday a government bill to extend a ban on human cloning.

The bill has already been approved by the lower house, the State Duma, but is yet to be signed into law by President Dmitry Medvedev.

The draft says that the ban on human cloning will continue in Russia until the adoption of new legislation regulating the cloning process.

The original 2002 law does not prohibit the cloning of cells and organisms for scientific and research purposes, human organs for transplantation or the cloning of animals.

Human cloning has been a subject of debate since the 1960s. Although technology for human cloning remains incomplete, its advocates have already faced a number of legal, aesthetic and religious challenges.

The chairman of the Federation Council social policy committee, Valentina Petrenko, said a ban on human cloning has already been introduced in most of the world's leading countries.

Human cloning is formally permitted in the U.S. and Britain. The later became the first country to legalize the cloning of human embryos for stem cell research in 2001.

Therapeutic cloning, which involves the production of stem cells from embryos, was permitted in the U.S. a few days after Barack Obama's inauguration as president. The law on this type of cloning requires embryos to be destroyed within 14 days. Obama, however, ruled out reproductive cloning, which he called "dangerous" and "profoundly wrong." It "has no place in our society or any society", he said.

Russia's moratorium on human cloning expired on June 23, 2007.

Source: RIA Novosti News Agency

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