It was after this that the government released the aforementioned Concept of Technological Development, which had been approved even before the trip to China.To the future, maybe
The Concept was developed by First Deputy Prime Minister Andrey Belousov, who was tasked with it by Putin in September 2022 following a meeting of the Council for Strategic Development and National Projects. This 60-page document is essentially a description of an imaginary bridge from the present to a bright future. The situation currently and how it should look in 2030 is described in some detail, though how to get there is not.
The concept is preceded by an extensive glossary that includes end-to-end technologies and megaprojects. The first 10 megaprojects with RUB 100 billion of investment have already been approved by the government. They target localization of the production of necessary medicines, medical devices, equipment, the production of machine tools, electronic and radio electronic products, ships and ship equipment, as well as with the development of unmanned aerial vehicles. Platforms for industrial poultry farming, as well as for construction and roads, are also in the pipeline.
The level of end-to-end technologies – one of the main indicators – still needs to be worked out, the Concept honestly says (“the development of a methodology for calculating the indicator is needed”). Meanwhile, the available, more traditional indicators make it possible both to compare Russia with other countries and to understand the ambitiousness of the targets formulated in the Concept.
The coefficient of technological dependence for Russia, which is forced to rely on its own resources, is today 68.7%, while over the next seven years, it is expected to be reduced by two and a half times to 27.3%. In China, the figure is now 23.0%, while for the US, which does not have to worry about losing international partners, it is 51.9%.
In terms of business innovation activities, Russia lags most of the leading developed countries: in 2021, the indicator was at 11.9%, versus 79.3% for Canada, 68.8% for Germany, 64.7% for the US and 40.8% for China. The Concept targets a doubling to 27% in seven years.
Based on the Concept, Russia thus lags substantially on both indicators, though the text of the Concept does not mention any source for this data or how either of the two indicators is calculated.
Note that a year ago the government put out a program
for the development of the air transportation industry until 2030, which can be considered the first step taken toward pursuing technological sovereignty. Its cost is upwards of RUB 770 billion, part of which has already been spent on subsidizing domestic flights.
The program pencils in growth in the share of domestic aircraft from the current 33% to 81% by 2030, though there has been no progress yet – the necessary technologies, equipment, materials and personnel are absent. Moreover, there are serious problems with just maintaining the existing fleet of domestic aircraft. As for repairing the French engines of the SSJ-100 Superjet, all hope is on Iranian technical centers, where, according to an industry source
, there is “40 years of built up experience with foreign engines”.
It is hard to imagine that there are people sitting in the government who do not understand that, in a country with an average level of development, it is impossible to build up all the technological diversity that exists and is developing in the rest of the world by “relying on your own resources” – the officials are anything but stupid. Still, they continue to design this imaginary bridge to the future. Within the rules of the game dictated by Putin today, such a strategy is safer than trying to explain that the targets are unattainable. In addition, for members of the government, the seven-year planning horizon is far beyond what they are dealing with today.