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EECA Cluster contact points in Russia

ICT Environment, Innovation policies and International cooperation report (October 2014)


Russia has been traditionally known as the "old" scientific partner of the European Union. Many developments have taken place in recent years in Russia and its image as the "old" partner has changed. Russia has a strong R&D sector, though the scale of conducted research activities and their financial support have been considerably reduced compared to the ones observed in the Soviet Union. During the last 10 years, R&D funding in Russia has been growing permanently, facilitated by the constant GDP growth (6-7% per year) and by the increase in the R&D expenditures (1.4% of GDP by 2004).


In 2007, the share of IT sector in Russian GDP was about 1.4%, which is several times less than in EU countries, USA and Japan. However, the Russian IT sector grows by 20-30% per year and its sales volume was estimated at 25 billion Euros in 2007. The greatest growth is observed in software and hardware supply in the framework of integration projects. In the software production sector, the Russian companies progress in their narrow niches such as IT security, speech recognition, computer-aided translation, etc. without competing with big transnational corporations in operating systems, databases or ERP. Some Russian companies are already visible at the global IT outsourcing market and included in world ratings. Russian software export is estimated about 1.5 billion Euros, yielding only to India and China.

Today, the goals and objectives of the Russian State ICT-related policy are not formulated clearly enough and dissipated over several documents. These documents are dedicated directly to the general ICT development or to its specific areas (e.g. "Strategy of development of an information society in Russia", "Concept of the development of the market of information technologies in the Russian Federation") while the priority areas of ICT R&D are contained in the strategic documents defining the national R&D development policy in general (e.g. "Strategy of science and innovation development in the Russian Federation for the period till 2015", "The basics of the policy of the Russian Federation in the development of science and technology till 2010 and further on").

According to the study "Long-Range Technology Forecast: Russian IT Foresight" (2005-2006, by RF Ministry of Information Technologies and Communication), the expert evaluation of ICT R&D level in Russia is relatively optimistic. However, the prospect of Russia's entering the top five ICT production and export countries has a low probability. Yet thanks to a low labour productivity of Russian IT specialists, it is possible that Russia takes stronger position in a middle-term and long-term view, as compared with 2006. This can be partly explained by a low level of IT outsourcing in Russia, that is, the fact that most enterprises that are not IT specialists prefer to solve IT problems in-house.

Russia is one of the most active participants of FP6/7 among the third countries. Still, most ICT cooperation projects with Russian participation are based on personal links. It is also to be noted that in the middle and end of 90's, Russian organizations' key motivation for taking part in joint projects was an opportunity of attracting additional financial resources for R&D. But in the last years, due to growing R&D funding in Russia, the following factors became prevailing, such as new references, establishment of strategic partnerships at international markets, new opportunities for promoting their competences, technologies and products to the European market, improving one's image and reputation. This is to say that there is a high potential for EU-Russian collaboration in the ICT field.