Sergei Ivanov, who in mid-February was promoted from defense minister and charged with the task of supervising the country's nuclear power and defense industries, said half of Russian scientists work in the military industrial sector.
"Russia has been gradually restoring its leading positions in the export of arms and military-oriented products and gaining new sale markets," Ivanov said, adding that military industrial enterprises has also been increasing the production share of civilian-oriented products.
"[Defense] enterprises became large suppliers of equipment for oil and gas, transport and energy sectors, as well as manufacturers of durable goods, first of all of household electronic equipment," he said. "On top of it all, these are products that are competitive with imported goods under the 'price-quality' parameter."
The first deputy prime minister said that it is necessary to work out a system of measures that would stimulate the modernization of defense enterprises and inspire innovations, adding that introduction of nanotechnology in Russia is one of country's mega projects.
"Nanotechnology could not only change our whole economy and the quality of life of Russian people, but can also drastically change all our perception about modern warfare," Ivanov said.
The importance of nanotechnology for Russia was also stressed Wednesday by Russian President Vladimir Putin, who said the state would spare no effort to provide financial support to nanotechnology research programs.
"It is an area of activity in which the state is ready to invest on a grand scale. The only question is that this work should be well organized and effective, yielding practical results," Putin said.
He said nanotechnology will lay the groundwork for new weapon systems, both offensive and defensive, adding that nanotechnology is already being used in high-tech sectors of industry, medicine, transport, space research and telecommunications.