15 November 2018
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256 days have passed since the Salisbury incident - no credible information or response from the British authorities                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     248 days have passed since the death of Nikolay Glushkov on British soil - no credible information or response from the British authorities



Innopolis – Russia’s New IT-Capital? (Ambassador Yakovenko, for Russia Today)

Information and communications technology (ICT) continues to be one of the most progressive and growth-generating sectors of the global economy. Such areas as mobile internet, e-payments, robotics and artificial intelligence, cloud technologies fascinate both consumers and developers, steadily becoming less of a sci-fi and more of a know-how.
Russia is very much a part of this trend. Our ICT sector is already large and continues to grow. For example, Russia is leading in Europe in terms of the number of Internet users (about 70 million in 2014). Russian market of IT products and services was valued at around $23 bln in 2013.
The Russian internet scene is still ripe for more expansion. Granting the global success of many Russian IT companies, such as Yandex, Mail.ru, OZON, Vkontakte, Kaspesky, the Russian market is an attractive place for doing business for international companies. High quality labour is a crucial factor. According to Frost&Sullivan, Russia is a global leader in numbers of researchers, developers, scientists and engineers per capita, far ahead of India and China. What we need is to create favourable conditions for local experts and international companies to thrive.
The Russian Government understands and strongly supports this work. As part of the 2008 Long-term Development Strategy ICT stimulus programmes continues to be a focus area of high priority. Many Russian cities already provide an attractive environment with developed infrastructure and opportunities for domestic and international businesses. One of these is, of course, Moscow, a leading national centre in many respects, from number of universities to Wi-Fi coverage, from investment concentration to the innovative Skolkovo project.
At the same time, active regional development should not be overlooked nor underestimated. Historically, scientific and IT resources were dispersed throughout our huge country, from Murmansk to Vladivostok, thus creating a number of important centres. But there was never a true IT-capital, akin Cambridge or Bangalore.
Now there might be just the contender. Located in a picturesque spot on the great Volga river, 1.5 hours flight time from Moscow or 30 minutes drive from Tatarstan’s capital Kazan, Innopolis is the first city in Russian modern history to be constructed completely from scratch. A new city on the world map, where the best innovative solutions are developed, commercialized and used.
A few days ago I discussed the future of Innopolis with its Director General Igor Nosov and was impressed by his plans. It looks like the choice of Tatarstan is not accidental. It is one of the largest economic, industrial, scientific and cultural centres in Russia, voted to be one of the best regions for doing business, known for excellent quality of higher education and scientific environment, boasting one of Russia’s most efficient special economic zones (“Alabuga”).
Innopolis was officially launched in 2012, when Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev laid a capsule with a message to future residents at the site. In just two years, an enormous job of designing and constructing new city infrastructure and main buildings is close to be finished. When open for business, it will be a smart city with a unique innovative ecosystem, including a special economic zone, a university (Russia’s first to specialise exclusively in computer science and information technologies), a full range of social, commercial and housing infrastructure (schools, kindergartens, hospitals, shopping malls, restaurants, apartment blocks, townhouses and cottages). Together, it will provide an ideal environment for successful development of innovative projects.
For resident companies Innopolis will offer a number of benefits, such as special tax rates, favourable terms on land lease, connections to engineering networks, low administrative barriers, access to highly qualified specialists and to world-class business infrastructure.
I am sure that foreign companies will be able to find something interesting in Innopolis, a promising new window to Russia’s bustling high-tech industry.


09.08.2018 - Letter from Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko to the Guardian’s editor

In response to the Ambassador Beruchashvili’s letter, offering not so much a recollection of the August 2008 events in the Caucasus, but rather a misleading reiteration of the Georgian claims against Russia I have to refer to some of the universally recognized facts and consequences resulting from those tragic events.

24.07.2018 - Eastern Economic Forum: the East is bright (by Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko)

When talking about Russia’s Far East, you invariably remember its stunning natural beauty, abundance in natural resources and vast territories. But when one thinks of its investments prospects, you also invariably remember its harsh climate, low average population density and the lack of transport and other infrastructure. But now the situation is changing fundamentally. The region is undergoing a huge and qualitative revival. The development of the region has been declared one of the national priorities for Russia. In the last 5 years 18 advanced development zones and 5 free ports have been established in the Russian Far East. Long-term tax exemptions have been provided for large investment projects. Paperless e-visas for visitors of Vladivostok are available for citizens of 18 countries.

03.05.2018 - SALISBURY: A CLASSIFIED CASE (by Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko)

On 4 March 2018 two Russian citizens Sergei and Yulia Skripal were reportedly poisoned in Salisbury, Wiltshire with the toxic chemical named A-234 under the British classification. On 12 March Foreign Secretary Johnson summoned me to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and said that Russia was “highly likely” responsible for the attack. He invited us to respond by the next day, whether this had been a direct act by the state or Russia had lost control over this nerve agent. The incident had international repercussions, including expulsion of 150 Russian diplomats from 28 countries, notwithstanding the fact that the charges were based on assumptions and unverifiable intelligence. The Western countries lost the same number of Moscow-based staff. Meanwhile, the British government provided no evidence either to the public, its allies or Russia. Subsequent events revealed that no proof of Russia’s involvement existed. On 1 May, National Security adviser Sir Mark Sedwill confirmed that (despite a number of previous leaks) no suspect had been identified, a statement that speaks for itself.

14.02.2018 - The international community needs a unified legal base to combat information crimes (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

Amid the rapid advance in technologies we face a growing number of cyber-crimes: in 2016, these offences caused damage of $445 billion and by 2020, according to experts, this figure can reach up to $3 trillion, exceeding the overall income received from the Internet.

26.01.2018 - UNGA: Glorification of Nazism must stop (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

In December the UN General Assembly (UNGA) adopted the traditional resolution on “Combating the glorification of Nazism, neo-Nazism and other practices that contribute to fuelling contemporary forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance”. It was supported by an overwhelming majority of UN Member States: 133 states voted for this document, 57 became its co-sponsors, and only Ukraine and the United States voted against.

29.11.2017 - Afghan opium production jumps to record level (by Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko for RT)

According to the latest Afghanistan Opium Survey released by the Afghan Ministry of Counter Narcotics and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), in 2017 opium production in Afghanistan increased by 87 per cent to a record level of 9,000 metric tons. The area under opium poppy cultivation also grew by 63 per cent to its highest level of 328,000 hectares. Afghanistan is the world's top cultivator of the poppy from which opium and heroin are produced. The 2017 record levels of opium production and poppy cultivation create multiple challenges for the country, its neighbours and many other countries that serve as a transit for or a destination of Afghan opiates. The significant levels of opium poppy cultivation and illicit trafficking of opiates fuel instability, insurgency and increase funding to terrorist groups in Afghanistan.

19.10.2017 - Why to fight with memorials (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

The campaign in Poland against World War II memorials to Soviet officers and soldiers, who had liberated the country from the Nazi occupation, is gaining momentum. Warsaw has created a legal framework allowing the disposal of Soviet/Russian memorial objects or taking them out of public sight, including the most widespread monuments of gratitude to the Red Army. Why?

18.10.2017 - Syria: collective humanitarian efforts, not sanctions, are needed more than ever (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

The situation in Syria is undergoing serious transformation. Due to the de-escalation process, it has now become possible to drastically reduce the level of violence, to improve the humanitarian situation as well as to fight terrorists more efficiently. The ISIS-controlled territory is shrinking. On 14-15 September, at the international meeting in Astana all four de-escalation zones were finalized.

05.10.2017 - What You Have to Know about Status of Crimea (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

The coup d’état in Kiev in February 2014 backed by the West tore up the constitutional space in Ukraine. The legitimate President of the country was overthrown. It was marked by a severe lack of democracy and violence that posed a direct threat to the well-being of Russian-speaking population of Crimea. Citizens of Crimea faced the choice of becoming an oppressed minority or severing their ties with the hostile regime to secure a future for themselves and their children. The decision to hold a referendum was made by legitimate local authorities. The independence of Crimea was proclaimed and an appeal to enter the Russian Federation was made based on the indisputable results of the popular vote. Standards of international law were fully observed as the right of nations to self-determination enshrined in the UN Charter was exercised freely by the Crimeans. Crimea was recognized as an independent and sovereign state by Russia and on 18 March 2014 in Moscow the two countries signed a Treaty of Unification, under which the Republic of Crimea and the city of Sevastopol became two new regions - subjects of the Russian Federation.

05.10.2017 - NATO increased military presence in Europe: road to nowhere (by Ambassador Yakovenko for RT)

As part of the implementation of the conclusions of the NATO Summit in Warsaw, four multinational battlegroups have been deployed in Poland, Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia with the total number of troops exceeding 4500. The idea of creating similar rotating units in Bulgaria and Romania in 2018 is being widely discussed by NATO members. If put together, these battlegroups amount to a motorized infantry brigade with heavy weapons.

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