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Succession and Modernization

The first steps taken by the new Kazakhstan government have a great significance for this strategically important country situated in the very heart of the Eurasian continent. The most vital issue currently facing the country and its main foreign partners is proceeding with the policy of modernization, which turned the country into an economic and political leader of Central Eurasia under President Nursultan Nazarbayev.

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Modi: A Watchman in Control

Given its very high ratings, the Bharatiya Janata Party’s victory in the 2014 general election was rather predictable — and still it caused a sensation: The BJP managed to win as many as 282 seats in the 543-seat Lok Sabha, the lower house of the bicameral Indian parliament, and virtually become the sole political leader in the ‘world’s largest democracy’. Compare this with the 159 seats that the BJP, also known as the Saffron Party, ended up with after the previous vote in 2009. The dramatic improvement was attributed by many to the charisma of leader Narendra Modi, who took over as prime minister. Now, the self-proclaimed chowkidar, or watchman, looks back at what was done during his first term in office. Expert views are mixed, with some considering it very successful and others expressing doubts.

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The Machine for Innovation

Talking about the achievements of the Russian nanoindustry, the head of RUSNANO, Anatoly Chubais, likes to build his speech around the formula ‘previously there was no, but now there is’. He claims that the industry has met the expectations, and RUSNANO itself has been turned into a self-financing tool for the reproduction of innovations, capable of doubling the number of new high-tech enterprises about once every 10 years.

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Through the Digital Barrier

Four years ago, President Vladimir Putin formulated the national digital transformation agenda that is to become one of the key components of the integrated Russian economic development strategy. The system transition to modern digital technologies and the organization of international cooperation based on a new technological infrastructure are the main directions for revealing competitive advantages and accelerated state development, acknowledges a Russian politician, former Russian Minister of Agriculture (2009–2012) Elena Skrynnik. She has shared her vision of the country’s path through the digital barrier in an interview to BRICS Business Magazine.

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    About BRICS Business Magazine

    BRICS Business Magazine is a bookazine —

    a book-like magazine – addressed to global investors, businessmen, politicians, and experts.

    A business and humanitarian publication on rapid-growth markets, it is issued four times a year and explains how to understand others.

    The goal of this project is to organize a direct information exchange between the BRICS countries and other emerging markets.

    We define a bookazine as a thick magazine with complex printing which is designed for slow reading and filled not in accordance with a constant set of sections, but rather in accordance with the topics chosen. Our bookazine includes (with occasional exceptions) three main kinds of data:

    • essays and columns that would fit into “Opinions” or “Recommendations” sections
    • indices, ratings, and rankings
    • business cases

    Industry and event projects as well as investment guides are featured as special add-ons.

    Rmef 2021

    For a long time, Russia was a country of extensive development. The almost endless space fed us and forgave us our many mistakes, but it also weaned many off from systematic improvements in productivity, thrift and even environmental friendliness. At a time when the whole world is transitioning to a new technological paradigm, yesterday's competitive advantage can turn into a stone around our neck. The mentality of the entire country cannot change overnight, of course, but those eternally restless people who want to invent, fix or improve something, which we call entrepreneurs, can achieve it. However, they will not be able to do it all by themselves.

    Our problems are not only in the lack of efficiency and openness to new ideas. A significant share of the Russian economy is concentrated in large companies, and they, in turn, are concentrated predominantly in the capital. As a result, Moscow and the region devour the lion's share of all investments in the country, and the enormous expanse of Russia is gravitating towards this central point. And this current state of affairs is, in fact, a long-term trend that cements the existing inequality between regions. Another way to look at the situation is through demography. The majority of regions and republics of the Russian Federation suffer from a population outflow. In addition to Moscow and St. Petersburg, only Novosibirsk has managed to establish growth through educational migration, and the distribution of young people is in many ways a measurement of success.

    The asymmetry in the development of the regions is terrible not by the discrepancy of the gap between the champions and the outsiders, which are supported by the budget, it is terrible for those in the middle. These are the regions in which nothing happens. They have no obvious direction to set course, they have no competitive advantages in the form of minerals or megacities. They require institutional progress and political support, and they need incentives to develop their large cities. Ideally, they need targeted assistance. In order to overcome these and other barriers ('Moscow syndrome', demographic decline, falling income of the population, federal aid that does not lead to growth, and the sustainability of the current status quo), the system must become more involved. There must be more joined-up thinking and action.

    One possible way out, which implies moving rapidly towards a new technological paradigm and the active involvement of business, is to create multiple points of growth. We have only one Skolkovo, but a country as large as Russia needs dozens, if not hundreds of clusters of this kind (not only in Moscow and St. Petersburg). A high concentration of talented people supported by investment always improves the situation in a region. By and large, finding and connecting talents through the creation of such projects is a systemically important area that deserves the attention and investment from both large companies and the government.


    Authors & Experts

    Branko Milanovic
    Branko Milanovic

    Visiting presidential professor at City University of New York Graduate Center; former lead economist in the World Bank’s research department

    Vladimir Korovkin
    Vladimir Korovkin

    Head of the Digital Technologies at the SKOLKOVO Institute for Emerging Market Studies

    Official partners

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