Sunday, October 31, 2010

A Good Start But Not Nearly Enough

Our government has finally come to the absolute realization that science and technology is absolutely critical to the future of Russia's economy.

To be sure, two strong steps have launched Russia into the right direction but over all, they are not even nearly enough.

First came the reform of the work visas, with a new 3 year work visa for scientists, engineers and top management, that the government really is turning around in as little as 1 month, better then just about anyone in the world. Very impressive, considering the previous system was only 1 year and took a 6-8 month period to achieve the first visa.

The second step came with the announcement of the construction of our own Silicon Valley, about 20km west of Moscow at Skolkovo. 85 billion rubles will be invested over the next 3 years ($2.5 billion) to build the infrastructure from scratch and create a low tax zone for companies.

All are great idea, but there needs to be much more. I propose the following steps:

1. Comprehensive streamlining of the bureaucracy to allow internet based registration of businesses and cut out the infamous chenovnik.

2. An active campeign to bring in first Russian diaspora and then non-Russian university students for hard sciences. The student visa system must equally be streamlined and made quick. Most students will stay close to where they graduate, if work is available, so this will produce a steady supply of talent, in addition to our own. You really can never have to many scientists.

3. Tax holidays, say 5 years, both on corporate income tax and NDS (VAT) for all new high tech businesses that get set up. Nothing like money or the prospect of making money that will bring in new companies into Russia.

4. Total stream lining of the construction permit process. Russia is one of the hardest countries to get construction permits and requires up to 2-5% of the value in bribes, just to keep the process going. The 6-12 month delay in getting the permits is a major retard on new construction and thus new business.

5. Creation of skunk works by the government, giving gov scientists the free hand to pursue whatever research they want, with most of their pay based on 50% of the profits off of patents, the rest going back to the state. Patents should only be sold, by the state, to Russian companies.

If we follow on these five steps, I believe we will have a synthesis of events that will lead to a new explosion in scientific development that will place us back at the top.


Juniper in the Desert said...

This is good news. As the greatest and most valuable of Russian assets is the Russian brain, it must be allowed to flourish!

Who knows, while British universities make creatures like Tariq Ramadam, islamic moron and terror promoter, into professors, real professors may soon be running off to Russia!

Pervych said...

"absolutely critical to the future of RUSSIA'S economy." Русский !!! Экономика!!!, последнее существо, очень отличное от проклятой системы богатства!!! An active campeign to bring in Russian diaspora только!!! non-Russian university students может поступить в ВУЗ в их собственных странах!!! You really МОЖЕТ have to many scientists.!!! БОГ ПРОКЛИНАЕТ ИХ ВСЕ!!!
"income tax and NDS"является марксистом, 'освещал' ересь и должен пойти к черту!!!

David B. Carvalho said...

Hello, Stan

I am a postgraduate scientist that currently works on quality management in Brazil. Today my country re-elected the communist Workers' Party administration, so I don't see much future around here.

Where can I get more info on this 3 year work visa?

Я хочу из Бразилии, быстро.

marknesop said...

Excellent ideas, Stas, especially the suggestion about foreign students and streamlining student visas. I'm not sure if the real Silicon Valley (a comparison with Skolkovo that I wish they'd quit using, because they're not really the same at all) is much on education, but Skolkovo certainly should be. Maybe foreign students could get a break on tuition - that should be a powerful lure, as tuition costs make a high-tech education too costly for many.

Great initiatives; I hope the government is paying attention! I wish Skolkovo every success.