Russia to launch Crimean ‘Silicon Valley’ by 2020

RIA Novosti / Aleksey Philippov
Russia plans to start operating its analogue of Silicon Valley in Crimea by 2020 with the total revenue of its enterprises expected to reach more than $1 billion in five years.

The project, called Digital Valley of Crimea, was presented at an economic forum in Yalta on Saturday and involves the development of an area specializing in mass hi-tech production.

“By 2020, the cumulative income of enterprises located in the digital valley will reach 60 billion rubles ($1.2 billion) and 17,000 highly skilled jobs will be created,” said the secretary of the working group on the project, Evgeny Babayan, quoted by TASS. “This will have an effect on the whole of Russia, Crimea will become a growing point.”

The main scientific and technical bases will operate in Crimean and Sevastopol’s State Universities, he said. A number of Russian federal agencies, including Rostech, Rostelecom and GLONASS have already joined the project.

READ MORE: Crimea may become Russia’s ‘Silicon Valley’ – Upper House chair

The project aims to bring together specialists not only from Russia but from other countries, including Ukraine, said Deputy Minister for Crimea Andrey Sokolov.

“Sanctions won’t create any problems because the countries that imposed them won’t consume these products,” said Sokolov, adding that Crimea welcomes any investors, including those from European companies.

“We are working with Chinese, Korean and South African investors. IT specialists from Europe and the US also show interest. They do not display themselves, but are developing plans,” he added.

The EU and the US imposed sanctions on Crimea in 2014 after its reunification with Russia. Western countries banned their businesses from investing in Crimea’s economy, purchasing real estate and developing the region’s infrastructure. The export of goods and technologies also fell under the restrictions.

READ MORE: EU introduces ‘discriminatory’ sanctions on Russia’s Crimea

The Crimean authorities reported that they had already chosen a territory of 57 hectares near the city of Simferopol where the future digital valley will be located.

“It is going to be an area near the airport, as mobility is essential for every specialist,” said Crimea’s minister of internal policy, information and communications, Dmitry Polonsky.

In March, Federation Council Speaker Valentina Matviyenko suggested the establishment of a platform for hi-tech developments in Crimea. The idea to create an analogue of Silicon Valley in Crimea was initially put forward by the head of the Republic of Crimea, Sergey Aksenov, in September 2014.