Medvedev modernisation programme

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The Medvedev modernisation programme is an initiative launched by President of Russia Dmitry Medvedev in 2009, which aims at modernising Russia's economy and society, decreasing the country's dependency on oil and gas revenues and creating a diversified economy based on high technology and innovation.[1] The programme is based on the top 5 priorities for the country's technological development: efficient energy use; nuclear technology; information technology; medical technology and pharmaceuticals; and space technology in combination with telecommunications.[2]


Medvedev making a speech at the 11th United Russia Party Congress on 21 November 2009, after the publication of Go Russia! and its discussion in the Russian media


After the near total collapse in 1998, the Russian economy recovered as a result of high oil prices during the presidency of Vladimir Putin, but remained heavily dependent on energy and raw material exports. In the first decade of the 2000s, global oil prices kept rising, fuelling economic growth. Medvedev later stated his belief that this was not only a boom, but also damaging to the Russian economy, saying that if the oil price is too high, "we’d never change the structure of our economy... We haven’t done anything in the last 10 years because oil kept rushing higher and higher."[3]

There had been repeated calls for a more diversified economy under Putin; already in 2005, Putin's Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov warned about the dependency of the economy on raw material exports, and in 2007 Deputy Prime Minister Sergey Ivanov said that without diversification, the Russian economy will sooner or later face a collapse.[4] Dmitry Medvedev, elected as president in 2008, made economic modernisation his prime presidential agenda. Medvedev's statements regarding this issue went much further than other statements by the Russian leadership.[4] In 2009, Medvedev founded the Presidential Commission on Innovation. The commission comprises almost the entire Russian government and some of the best minds from academia and business.[5]

"Go Russia!"[edit]

Medvedev outlined his programme in an article called "Go Russia!" that was published online in September 2009. In the article, he formulated his strategic objective of modernising Russia.[6] He criticised Russia's economic "backwardness" and what he called Russia's "humiliating" dependency on oil and raw materials.[7] He described the Russian society as "archaic" and "paternalistic" and said that the country can no longer rely on the achievements of the past to secure a prosperous future.[8] In Medvedev's view, Russia should aim for a modern, diversified economy based on high technology and innovation.[7] Medvedev criticised the previous attempts to modernise Russia—those initiated by Peter I the Great and the Soviet Union—saying that the results they brought came at too high a cost, and this time modernisation must come not through coercion but via the development of the creative potential of every individual, through private entrepreneurship and initiative.[9]

Medvedev identified five key areas for economic modernisation, in which breakthroughs must be achieved:[10]

  • Energy efficiency and new fuels
  • Medical technologies and pharmaceuticals
  • Nuclear power engineering
  • Information technologies
  • Space and telecommunications

Medvedev further discussed and publicised his programme in his second state of the nation address in November 2009, as well as in a televised speech in December 2009.

Programme structure[edit]

Efficient use of energy and resources[edit]

Dmitry Medvedev at the 2008 International Global Energy Prize award ceremony

Currently the energy intensity of the Russian economy is estimated to be about 2.5 times more than the world average.[11] The government set an aim of 40% decrease of the energy intensity by 2020.[11] It is estimated that the main potential of achieving this aim lies within the housing sector and the budget organisations.[11] The following state projects are initiated to increase the energy efficiency:[11]

State projects
English Russian Details
Count, save and pay Считай, экономь и плати establishing and propagation of the thrifty model of energy resources use; governmental coordination of mass installation and production of counters and economizers.
New light Новый свет gradual replacement of traditional incandescent light bulbs with more efficient types of lamps; development of the national production of energy saving devices.
Energetically efficient city block Энергоэффективный квартал pilot project aimed into creation of efficient energy distribution and saving systems in urban blocks of several Russian cities.
Energetically efficient social sector Энергоэффективный социальный сектор realisation of the energy efficiency programmes in schools and hospitals, with subsequent enlargement of the project scope to all social services.
Local energy systems Малая комплексная энергетика developing of the local systems of electricity generation and central heating, where such small-scale systems can be more effective than large, centralized systems; development of the production of equipment for local energy generation and supply.
Innovative energy supply Инновационная энергетика stimulation of new innovative developments in energy sector; nationwide technological contests in the area of energy efficiency.

Nuclear technology[edit]

Balakovo Nuclear Power Plant, one of the largest in Russia

Russia was the first country to develop civilian nuclear power and to construct the world's first nuclear power plant. Currently the country is the 4th largest nuclear energy producer.[12] Russia has a strong industrial and scientific base in the area of nuclear technology, but much needs to be done for the full use of the technological potential that had been amassed in the Soviet era.[13] Nuclear power in Russia is managed by Rosatom State Corporation. The sector is rapidly developing, with an aim of increasing the total share of nuclear energy from current 16.9% to 23% by 2020. The Russian government plans to allocate 127 billion rubles ($5.42 billion) to a federal program dedicated to the next generation of nuclear energy technology. About 1 trillion rubles ($42.7 billion) is to be allocated from the federal budget to nuclear power and industry development before 2015.[14] The programme aims to establish secure, cheap, and long-term nuclear energy supply in Russia as well as increase Russian exports of nuclear energy and technology abroad.[13] Besides construction of the new nuclear power plants in Russia and elsewhere, the following major state projects have been initiated in the area of nuclear technology:[13]

State Projects
English Russian Details
Development of the Standard Project of the optimised and informatised powerblock based on the VVER technology (VVER-TOI) Создание Типового Проекта оптимизированного и информатизированного энергоблока технологии ВВЭР (ВВЭР-ТОИ) development by 2012 of all the technology needed for a modern nuclear power station with the VVER-type reactor, adapted for Russian as well as for American and European markets.
New technological platform: closed nuclear fuel cycle and fast-neutron reactors Новая технологическая платформа: замкнутый ядерный топливный цикл и реакторы на быстрых нейтронах development by 2030 of a new technological base in nuclear technology, characterised by the usage of closed nuclear fuel cycle and fast-neutron reactors. This technology allows better efficiency of nuclear fuel usage, an important advantage in light of the expected future squeeze in the world's uranium supply. Russia is a world leader in fast-neutron reactor technology.[15]
Controlled thermonuclear fusion Управляемый термоядерный синтез development by 2050 of practical methods of controlled thermonuclear fusion, the technology aimed into production of the cheap energy which is fully independent from non-renewable resources.

Information technology[edit]

Runet logo at the 2009 Runet Prize ceremony

The recent decade saw a rapid spread of information technology in Russia. Over 42% of population in Russia have personal access to the Internet, and all schools and universities were provided Internet connection by 2007 as a part of the National Priority Project in Education supervised personally by Dmitry Medvedev, then vice-Prime Minister.[16] Russia is a leading developer of software[17] and the country enjoys a large amount of IT talent. Russian youth dominate international technology competitions like the ACM International Collegiate Programming Contest, where Russian universities have won five of the last ten contests. Despite this, Russia faces a shortage of IT specialists due to high demand. In 2009 Russian companies employed more than 1 million IT specialists, making up 1.34% of the country's workforce. However, the figure is lower than in some other major economies, such as the United States (3.74%), United Kingdom (3.16%), and Germany (3.14%).[18]

The government puts much effort into development of the information society in Russia. The following major state projects are currently realized or planned in the area of information technology:[17]

Dmitry Medvedev posts on Twitter.
State projects
English Russian Details
Development of supercomputing and grid technology Развитие суперкомпьютеров и ГРИД-технологий creation of the common space for the domestically produced high-performance supercomputers on the basis of grid computing, in order to provide means for the complex calculations for nuclear technology centers, aircraft industry and other major clients which need high-performance computing for computer simulation of their projects.
Electronic government Электронное правительство gradual movement towards the e-government, which includes the providing of interaction with the state and access to the state services via Internet and other communication technologies; reducing the volume of paper documentation in favour of electronic one (first in the pilot regions, then on the state level); full transfer to the public announcement of the government procurement orders in electronic form.
IT and communication services in education and social development ИКТ-услуги в области развития образования и социального развития личности creation and development of the new e-learning Internet resources aimed into improving the access to higher and professional education, especially for people with disabilities, inhabitants of remote regions of the country, and Russian speakers outside of Russia; establishment of the special centers for the education of specialists in IT and the involvement of gifted secondary and higher education students into IT development.
IT and communication services in medical science, health care and social security ИКТ-услуги в области медицины, здравоохранения и социального обеспечения creation and development of the Internet resources and automatic systems aimed into providing quality state services in public health and social security; IT-based monitoring of the personal health of citizens; development of systems that improve the interaction between medical scientists and physicians; transfer of medical records into the electronic form and introduction of the similar electronic "social cards".
IT and communication services in public and personal security ИКТ-услуги в области безопасности жизнедеятельности development of systems of automatic speech recognition, closed-circuit television and security-related pattern recognition.
Supercomputer education Суперкомпьютерное образование creation of the national system of education of specialists in supercomputing on the basis of Supercomputer Consortium of Russian universities; no less than 500 experts in supercomputing are expected to be prepared in 2010–2012, and 25 universities are expected to join the system of supercomputer education.

Space technology and telecommunications[edit]

Vladimir Putin with GLONASS navigator

Currently the country is the largest satellite launcher[19] and the only provider of transport for space tourism services. However, much of the potential achieved in this area still awaits large-scale commercialisation.[20] This can be achieved by the combination of space technology and telecommunications. The following state projects have been initiated in this area:[20]

State projects
English Russian Details
Space-based navigation, including the commercialisation of the GLONASS system Космическая навигация, включая коммерческое использование системы ГЛОНАСС providing the satellite navigation services of Russian GLONASS system to various type of clients, including emergency services, construction and freight companies, natural gas and petroleum industry, energy supply and logistics, and individual customers.
Space-based monitoring and search Мониторинг и слежение из космоса distant space-based monitoring of the Earth atmosphere and surface, aimed into the search of mineral resources, ecological control, climate change and weather forecasting, and rescue operations support.
Space-based targeting systems Системы наведения из космоса implementation of the capabilities of military and anti-terrorist space-based targeting systems into the area of dealing with certain types of emergencies, control of the atmosperic processes etc.
Space-based telecommunications in the broadband access systems Космические телекоммуникации, как часть системы широкополосного доступа transfer to the space-based broadband access systems, including in the area of digital television and radio.

The funding of Russian Federal Space Agency Roscosmos has almost tripled from 2007, standing at $3.1 billion in 2011. President Medvedev and the modernisation programme is credited with the increase.[21]

Medical technology and pharmaceuticals[edit]

3D model of Arbidol molecule, a Russian antiviral treatment for influenza, popular in Russia and China

Despite a number of achievements, Russia is significantly behind the world leaders in medical technology and pharmaceutical production.[22] The country produces only 20% of the drugs used domestically, while 80% is imported.[citation needed]

Currently, the specific major state projects in the area of medical technology and pharmaceuticals are not yet defined or announced.[22] The government aims to achieve the primarily domestical production of the most needed types of medical equipment and pharmaceuticals, as well as support the development and commercialization of new innovative products, especially those related to biotechnology, cell and nuclear medicine, and nanotechnology.[22]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Russia Profile Weekly Experts Panel: 2009 – Russia's Year in Review". Russia Profile. 31 December 2009. Archived from the original on 19 January 2011.
  2. ^ Presidential Commission on the modernisation and technological development of the Russian economy Archived 2 May 2018 at the Wayback Machine Official site. (in Russian)
  3. ^ "Russia Sept oil output hits record 10 million bpd". Reuters. 2 October 2009. Retrieved 5 October 2009.
  4. ^ a b Smith, Mark A. (9 October 2010). "Medvevdev and the Modernisation Dilemma" (PDF). Defence Academy of the United Kingdom.
  5. ^ "Russia Profile Weekly Experts Panel: Medvedev's Quest for Innovation". Russia Profile. 5 June 2009. Archived from the original on 11 August 2010. Retrieved 30 June 2009.
  6. ^ "Russia Profile Weekly Experts Panel: Medvedev's Appeal to the Nation". Russia Profile. 18 September 2009. Archived from the original on 19 January 2011.
  7. ^ a b "Medvedev wants Russia to go hi-tech". CNN. 12 November 2009.
  8. ^ "Medvedev sets out ambitious vision". BBC News. 12 November 2009.
  9. ^ "Dmitry Medvedev's Article, Go Russia!".
  10. ^ Dvorkovich, Arkady (14 November 2010). ""Go Russia:" Progress, One Year Later". Huffington Post. USA.
  11. ^ a b c d Presidential Commission on the modernisation and technological development of the Russian economy: Efficient use of energy and resources Archived 29 July 2014 at the Wayback Machine Official site. (in Russian)
  12. ^ Nuclear Power Plant Information Archived 7 January 2011 at the Wayback Machine, International Atomic Energy Agency. Retrieved 12 June 2006.
  13. ^ a b c Presidential Commission on the modernisation and technological development of the Russian economy: Nuclear technology Archived 29 July 2014 at the Wayback Machine Official site. (in Russian)
  14. ^ Russia builds nuclear power stations all over the world at (in Russian)
  15. ^ Medetsky, Anatoly (24 August 2010). "Aiming to Capitalize on Fast Reactors". The Moscow Times.
  16. ^ All Russian schools have been provided Internet access Archived 18 August 2011 at the Wayback Machine at (in Russian)
  17. ^ a b Presidential Commission on the modernisation and technological development of the Russian economy: Computer hardware and software Archived 29 July 2014 at the Wayback Machine Official site. (in Russian)
  18. ^ Razumovskaya, Olga (28 July 2010). "The Next Generation of Computer Geeks". The Moscow Times.
  19. ^ "Russian space program in 2009: plans and reality". Archived from the original on 28 January 2010. Retrieved 27 April 2010.
  20. ^ a b Presidential Commission on the modernisation and technological development of the Russian economy: Space technology and telecommunications Archived 29 July 2014 at the Wayback Machine Official site. (in Russian)
  21. ^ "The Head of Roskosmos Has Held onto His Position (For Now) and Has Lambasted the Government for the Lack of Funding for the Space Industry". Russia Profile. 14 April 2011. Archived from the original on 12 July 2011.
  22. ^ a b c Presidential Commission on the modernisation and technological development of the Russian economy: Medical technology and pharmaceuticals Archived 12 August 2014 at the Wayback Machine Official site. (in Russian)

External links[edit]