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18:10 GMT +3 hours19 December 2014
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Russia to Create Military Skolkovo

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Russia wants to set up a military innovation hub in Moscow Region similar to the country’s ambitious hi-tech development project at Skolkovo, Izvestia daily reported on Thursday.

Russia wants to set up a military innovation hub in Moscow Region similar to the country’s ambitious hi-tech development project at Skolkovo, Izvestia daily reported on Thursday.

The idea of creating a military scientific research center was voiced by the League for Assistance to the Defense Industry, comprising the heads of Russia’s leading military corporations which lobbies in government for the sector, Izvestia said.

In an interview with the daily, the League’s head and lawmaker Vladimir Gutenev said the center will boast leading specialists in defense technology and could be just the first of many.

“If this project [military innovation hub] is implemented and bears fruits, similar centers will be created in Russian regions,” Gutenev told the paper.

The site could be located at Ramenskoye to the south-east of the capital, which is home to the Gromov Flight Research Center and the longest runway in Europe, said the League's deputy head, Zinovy Pak

Gutenev said Russia would first set up a defense research agency similar to the United States Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), and only then set up the new high-tech hub.

In late 2011, Russian Deputy Prime Minister and then NATO envoy, Dmitry Rogozin called for the creation of a defense research agency with its own budget that would oversee development of new military technology. Rogozin criticized Russia's lack of progress in hypersonic flight research last month and called for urgent funding for it.

Russian lawmaker Andrei Krasov, a member of the State Duma Defense Committee, welcomed the idea, saying “Russia urgently needs breakthrough weaponry” since the lack of technological progress is creating a threat to Russia’s security.

The Skolkovo high-tech development park is a key part of the Russian government’s drive to modernize Russia's commodity-dependent economy. The center is intended to be an ultra-modern science community for the development and commercialization of new technologies including energy, information technology, communications, bio-medical research and nuclear technology.