18 February 2018
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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.


26.01.2018 - Main foreign policy outcomes of 2017

In 2017, Russian diplomacy addressed multidimensional tasks to ensure national security and create a favourable external environment for our country's progressive development. Russia maintained an independent foreign policy, promoted a unifying agenda, and proposed constructive solutions to international problems and conflicts. It developed mutually beneficial relations with all interested states, and played an active role in the work of the UN, multilateral organisations and forums, including the G20, BRICS, the SCO, the OSCE, and the CSTO. Among other things, Russian policy has sought to prevent the destabilisation of international relations, and this responsible policy has met with broad understanding in the international community.

17.01.2018 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's remarks at the unveiling of memorial plaque in Sayes Court Park

Dear Mayor, Dear Councillors, Lady Joan, Ladies and gentlemen, It is now 320 years ago that a truly remarkable man set foot in Deptford. As you know, the Russian Tsar Peter, later named the Great, visited Western Europe in 1697—1698 under the nickname of Peter Mikhailov, with his Grand Embassy. He was eager to find out about the latest achievements in science and technology and create new diplomatic alliances. Of course, England couldn’t escape his attention. He mostly studied shipbuilding at the famous Deptford Dockyard, but he also met King William III, and, reportedly, Isaac Newton. Peter’s landlord, the famous John Evelyn, was also a respected scientist – a founder member of the Royal Society.

13.12.2017 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's remarks at the Presentation of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia by Russia 2018 Local Organising Committee.

Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends, I am pleased to welcome you to the Russian Embassy at the Presentation of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia by Russia 2018 Local Organising Committee. It’s a common knowledge, that football is the most popular game in the world. It is an honour for us to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup for the first time in the history of our country. I believe that those who come to Russia to support their national teams will leave with unforgettable memories.

08.12.2017 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's remarks at the Roscosmos "Sputnik" exhibition launch at Rossotrudnichestvo

Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's remarks at the Roscosmos "Sputnik" exhibition launch at Rossotrudnichestvo (7 December 2017)

25.11.2017 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's remarks at the reception at the Embassy dedicated to Russian Film Week (24 November 2017)

Ladies and gentlemen, Dear friends First of all, I would like to pay tribute to the outstanding Russian opera singer Dmitri Hvorostovsky who passed away this week. In 2015 he gave a concert in this very hall. I am delighted to welcome you at our reception dedicated to the Russian Film Week and the environmental causes it champions. This year their charity partner is World Wide Fund for Nature, which runs many projects in Russia in coordination and with support of the Russian Government. Russia has a unique, fascinating wildlife. A number of this week’s films show the natural beauty of our land and are sure to raise awareness of how fragile this beauty is. We appreciate the WWF effort in Russia and worldwide and call on everybody to become a supporter, especially this year, marked as Year of Ecology in Russia.

20.11.2017 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's remarks at the launch of the Russian Film Week (19 November 2017)

Ladies and gentlemen, It is a pleasure for me to be at the opening of the second edition of the Russian Film Week here in London – which this year also spans to Cambridge and Edinburgh.

16.10.2017 - Unpublished letter to the Editor of The Times (sent 12 October)

Sir, If British MPs are free to speak out, wherever they wish, on any issue, why try to block their freedom of speech (“Helping Putin”, 11 October)? If a TV channel wants (and is legally bound) to present different points of view, why slam those who express these views? If the mere act of giving an interview to foreign media amounts to high treason, why does The Times interview Russian politicians without fear? And finally - while MPs critical of Russia are welcome guests on the Russian TV channel RT, does your paper give the same treatment to those critical of the paper’s owner? Konstantin Shlykov Press Secretary of the Embassy of the Russian Federation

25.09.2017 - PRESENTATION by Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk at the Christian Future of Europe Conference 22 September 2017, London

Your Eminences and Your Excellencies, dear Mr. Ambassador, conference organizers and participants, I cordially greet all of those gathered today at the Russian Embassy in London to partake in this conference dedicated to the question of the future of Christianity in Europe. This topic is not only not losing any of its relevance, but is resounding ever anew. Experts believe that today Christianity remains not only the most persecuted religious community on the planet, but is also encountering fresh challenges which touch upon the moral foundations of peoples' lives, their faith and their values. Recent decades have seen a transformation in the religious and ethnic landscape of Europe.

23.09.2017 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's remarks at presentation of the book "The Mystery of Repentance" held at the Russian Embassy

I’m glad to welcome you here to a discussion of two prominent hierarchs of the Russian Orthodox Church and the Church of England, on Christian future of Europe.

12.09.2017 - Ambassador Alexander Yakovenko's remarks at the exhibition opening (“Scythians: Warriors of ancient Siberia” 12 September, British Museum)

Today the British Museum and the State Hermitage of Saint-Petersburg are once again proving their unique world class by bringing a whole new civilization to London. Ancient, and almost mythical, but creative, powerful and very different from what we have all known about antiquity – the Scythians.

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