At last week's Global Policy Forum in Yaroslavl, experts and thought leaders from around the world gathered to discuss Russia's modernization and economic development. The timing for such a meeting was auspicious; it came one year after President Medvedev shared his vision for Russia's future in an article titled, "Go Russia!" in which he outlined five strategic vectors of economic modernization; energy efficiency and new fuels; medical technologies and pharmaceuticals; nuclear power engineering; information technologies; and space and telecommunications.
As President Medvedev noted in his article, Russia will accomplish this by harmonizing the interests of the individual, society and government and by developing concrete projects and technologies that are both transferable and scalable.
Over the course of the past year we have worked to put these aspirations into action, and to date we have made meaningful progress in a number of areas. Specific examples include:
• "Energy Efficient City and District" - pilot projects implementing energy efficient programmes and technologies have been launched in several regions across the country and are being monitored and studied for best practices that can be replicated elsewhere.
• Pharma 2020 - aims to increase the competitiveness of the domestic pharmaceutical market, calling for a $6 billion investment in the sector.
• "New generation of nuclear energy technologies" - a mid-term, 120 million rouble programme has been launched to support research in fundamental physics between 2010 and 2012.
• Russia's first supercomputer - The government has allocated 2.5 billion roubles to create the first Russian supercomputer that can perform quadrillion operations a second, or a "petaflop," by 2011.
• e-government initiative - the recently launched website www.gosuslugi.ru helps to cut bureaucracy by allowing Russians to apply for passports, register property rights and check their tax profile online.
• Broadband internet access - plans are being developed to drive large-scale implementation of broadband services so that 90 percent of Russia's population has broadband access by 2015.
• Skolkovo - to spur true, "home-grown" innovation, we have put in motion the creation of a hub for high-technology research and business , covering all five modernisation priorities, to be located in Skolkovo, outside of Moscow. We expect the site plan to be completed and construction to begin in 2011, with a substantial number of research projects started by the end of next year.
All of these and many more were discussed in greater detail at Yaroslavl, particularly within the broader context of Russia's democratic modernization, where Russia can learn from the successes and failures of other nations.
As we all know, constructive changes take time, persistence, and commitment. They require new ways of thinking. They do not happen overnight, but their lasting effect can be dramatic nonetheless. We invite you to track Russia's progress -- both on ModernRussia.com and by visiting www.i-Russia.ru - in the months and years ahead.