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    Russian 'Silicon Valley' to be self-sufficient in 5-7 years - Vekselberg

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    Russian billionaire oligarch Viktor Vekselberg in charge of coordinating the project of Skolkovo's high-tech research and production hub believes the new research center will become self-sufficient in 5-7 years.

    Russian billionaire oligarch Viktor Vekselberg in charge of coordinating the project of Skolkovo's high-tech research and production hub believes the new research center will become self-sufficient in 5-7 years.

    "I believe it's extremely important this project starts on the right track from the very beginning and breaks even on its own. I hope this task will take us 5-7 years," he said on Tuesday during a committee meeting on Russia's economic modernization held in Siberia's Khanty-Mansiisk.

    The construction works would start soon, according to Vekselberg, however developing a large-scaled research center and achieving the demanded scientific and research potential would take years.

    Vekselberg is positive on the success of the new high-tech hub, which he called an "interesting and ambitious challenge". However he emphasized, Skolkovo's research center would succeed only if international companies participate in it.

    The business tycoon said innovations and modernization are what is needed to revive the Russian economy.

    Vekselberg heads a huge Russian private holding, operating in gas, oil, metallurgy, energy and nanotechnology.

    Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has already requested the government to define a special legal status for the high-tech research and production hub, which will be built in Skolkovo, near Moscow.

    "Actually, this should not be just a new piece [of the market] regulated by general rules. I believe we should think about working out special legal norms for such kind of activities," Medvedev said.

    He proposed this new status be defined in short terms. "Begin working on it and do not drag the issue on because we need to form the general provisions of this special legal status by next month," the president said.

    In March 2006, the Russian government approved a program to create technoparks to incorporate high-tech enterprises in such sectors as nano-, bio-, information and other kinds of technology, as well as scientific research organizations, educational institutions providing staff for such enterprises, and other related ventures.

    The new Skolkovo center's research will focus on five priority spheres: energy, information technologies, communication, biomedical research and nuclear technologies.

     

    KHANTY-MANSIISK, March 23 (RIA Novosti)

     

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