Medvedev promises state support to innovation and warns against Iron Curtain

President Dmitry Medvedev laid major guidelines for development of Russia’s innovation sector at the session of the Presidential Commission for Modernization and Technological Development of the Russian Economy.

The President said that the authorities were ready to render all sorts of support for those who dare to invest into the country’s hi-tech sector. At the same time he called for the businessmen to do more on their part in order to match the government’s outstanding effort.

The session was held on the compound of the Management and AdministrationSchool at Skolkovo, near Moscow, in the format of the nationwide innovation forum “Go, Russia!”

As part of his speech, the president said that the Russian people should learn how to earn money through creativity. "We have a very creative nation. But there's a problem: we just can't make money out of it."

He also said it is important to create normal conditions for young scientists as it will stop the “brain drain” from Russia.

"The subject should be tackled in a serious way, but it should not be feared. It is no good saying 'There now, everyone is gone. That's the end of it.' If we are competitive, people will come back. Of course, to make this happen, certain efforts are to be exerted. But there is no other way. We cannot drop the Iron Curtain or in any other way prevent the brain drain. It is impossible," he noted.

The president also complained that he was not fully satisfied with the pace of modernization in the outgoing year.

“There were organizational and financial problems,” he said. "During the year we have developed innovation, laid the foundation for the new economy. But we can't be fully content as there were organizational and financial problems."

Therefore, he outlined several important aspects for development such as boosting pharmaceutical development in Russia in order to produce modern and accessible drugs for people.

He also noted that the government should not interfere into private businesses, as innovation cannot exist on the government's backing only.

It was announced that the participants in the Skolkovo project will receive unprecedented discounts – exemption from taxes on income, VAT and several other taxes.

The innovation center, in a specially-designated area at Skolkovo, is slated to become Russia’s biggest testing ground for the country’s new economic policy. All required conditions are due to be created there to design energy, nuclear, space, biomedical and computer technology.

President Dmitry Medvedev is the initiator of the project dubbed as Russia's answer to Silicon Valley.