The Russian government has pledged 502 billion roubles ($15.2bn) of state and private funding for the beleaguered Skolkovo Innovation Centre, a high-tech hub on the outskirts of Moscow. Economic Development Minister Alexei Ulyukayev told the cabinet yesterday that the Skolkovo project was part of a wider state programme to develop the country’s economy by fostering innovation. Ulyukayev said that a quarter of the funds would be paid by the state over a eight-year period starting this year while the private sector would contribute the rest.
Billionaire Viktor Vekselberg, president of the Skolkovo Foundation, said: “With a bit of daring we could call this day historic. It is belief in the future of the Skolkovo project.”
A pet project of Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, the technopark was hit by scandal this year after police raided Skolkovo Foundation’s headquarters in April. The raid was part of an investigation into the alleged embezzlement of $750,000 of state funds. Critics have also hit out at the slow development of Skolkovo, which three years after it was launched, is still a major construction site.
Skolkovo comprises five “clusters”, each specialising in different areas: IT, energy, nuclear technologies, biomedicine and space technologies. Around 50 companies currently reside in the complex with more start-ups expected to move in by the end of the year. The project, it is hoped, will wean the Russian economy off its dependence on oil and gas.
Source: RIA Novosti