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TWO IT PARKS TO EMERGE OUTSIDE MOSCOW

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MOSCOW, April 18 (RIA Novosti's Alexei Ilyichev) - Pilot projects for the construction of IT parks in Dubna and Chernogolovka, outside Moscow, were unveiled Monday at a joint session of senior officials from the federal Information Technology & Communications Ministry and the administration of the Moscow Region, including ITC Minister Leonid Reiman and Moscow Governor Boris Gromov. The session was held as part of a program to boost Russia's role in the world's IT market.

A programming center is to be set up in Dubna, a town of 67,000. Built in 1956, this town has become a scientific and technological cluster, with its very own university. The programming center will come with a campus, to accommodate 30,000 personnel and families. The Dubna project, to be completed by the year 2012, will cost an estimated 21.5 billion rubles to implement (the U.S. dollar is equivalent to 27.82 rubles, on current exchange rate). The government has already pledged to contribute 2.6 billion. The returns are expected at 16.5 billion rubles per year.

The Chernogolovka project is to be built within the next five years. The prospective investment amounts to 735 million dollars, with $95 million (about 12 percent) from the public purse. The annual output's worth is expected at $460 million. Like Dubna, Chernogolovka was built in the Soviet era around the research & development sector. This is a community of 21,000, with the average age at 38. The town's research equipment plant and its nine research institutes employ as many as 1,100 specialists with advanced academic degrees.

Chernogolovka Mayor Georgi Filippov pointed out at today's session that the construction of IT parks would pave the way for the Russian economy to shift its focus from mining to high-tech industries while also raising Russia's profile as a nation with a high potential in information technology and communications. ITC Minister Reiman echoed the point, adding that federal allocations for the purpose were on their way. Russia's IT market may grow to reach $40 billion by the year 2010, Reiman predicted.

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