Rashid Ismailov: "Western sanctions are a cool thing, they create opportunities"
Answering a question from The Moscow Post correspondent, Rashid Ismailov, a candidate from the Russian Federation for the post of Secretary General of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), said that if Russia is disconnected from world ICT systems, then we can survive it, even if we have to "eat stew."
There are no problems with infrastructure in ICT in Russia
The journalist of our publication recalled the statement of the current Secretary General of the organization Zhao Houlin, who said that four conditions are needed for the development of the ICT sector: infrastructure. Investments. Innovation. And inclusion in the process.
"You know how things are in Russia with these basic conditions. Share your assessments, "asked The Moscow Post correspondent.
Ismailov pointed out that with the observance of the above conditions in Russia, everything is quite good. In all large and medium-sized cities of Russia, coverage of new territories by the Internet is actively developing, from the point of view of infrastructure there are no problems.
Earlier, the country's authorities also adopted a program according to which it was necessary to develop broadband Internet access to any settlements with a population of 250 or more. Throughout the country, such a task is difficult, but feasible. The expert pointed out that in the whole country of fiber-optic networks laid how much that volume would be enough to wrap the Earth with cables along the equator five or six times.
Rashid Ismailov: If we need to eat "stew"
In recent years, Russian companies have invested billions of dollars in the development of network infrastructure. This has already led to the fact that the cost of the Internet and network services in Russia turned out to be one of the lowest in the world. In the future, certain problems are expected in this direction due to the sanctions imposed against the Russian Federation. At the same time, he expressed confidence that the problems with the creation of domestic network software will be solved, in some things import substitution is already underway, that is, certain lacunae, the work in which has yet to begin.
Russia has huge potential in the development of innovation due to the scientific base. Ismailov recalled that only the United States, Russia and China have created their own search engines on the Web. Similarly, with the creation of a domestic email system, there are messengers, social networks, and so on. All this was created by domestic companies with a serious approach to innovation.
As for involvement in ICT development processes in Russia, there are key stakeholders who are engaged in infrastructure development, the state is also actively interested in this and participates in it. In particular, the Ministry of Digital Development regularly adopts laws and by-laws that reduce the level of regulation of innovative companies. Indirect measures are also being taken to support the industry, for example, reducing the level of contributions to the Pension Fund for companies, creating a register of domestic software, measures to attract engineers from the CIS countries, and so on.
"It is clear that our environment for the development of ICT is not ideal, but believe me, I have something to compare with, and I can assure you that the Russian system is completely working," Ismailov summed up.
Western sanctions are a "cool thing" for Russian companies
Another question from The Moscow Post raised the topic of Western sanctions against the Russian Federation. In particular, whether the restrictions of Western states can affect the degree of coverage of Internet users, this level is now only slightly less in Russia than in Europe or North America.
"How will Western sanctions affect the development of Internet networks in the country?" - asked the journalist.
Ismailov noted that the sanctions will inevitably affect the degree of Internet coverage in the Russian Federation, if only because the largest vendors and the largest world companies have left the market. On the other hand, Ismailov called the sanctions pressure "a cool thing," since this creates opportunities for Russian companies to occupy the vacated market niches. The infrastructure in the Russian Federation can withstand current loads for a long time, and active work on import substitution will also help this.
"I also think that sooner or later sanctions against Russia will be mitigated if not lifted. This is also indicated by the fact that the United States did not impose sanctions on the supply of equipment to Russia for the development of ICT, "Ismailov said.
He noted that it is impossible to "close everything" and this step would be stupid and would lead to complete autarky. Now the Russian Federation can compensate for lost technologies by contacting a pool of vendors not from European and American countries.
Ismailov recalled that even during the introduction of the first sanctions against the Russian Federation, he advocated the creation of his own, domestic systems, software and infrastructure. He was told that this is not an urgent need, since the same iPhones and applications for them continue to work.
"Then one of my people noted that, of course, Google or Apple will not be created in Russia. But in the country there is a "Rosrezerv," and it stores stew. It is not very tasty for people, since some are used to eating better. Nevertheless, if there is nothing to eat, you will have to eat stew. It may turn out that the Russian Federation can be completely disconnected from world ICT systems, so we need to continue to develop our own technologies and not spare funds, forces and people for this, "Ismailov said.
To exchange innovation with China, you need to have powerful technologies
Finally, the journalist asked about the role of the PRC and the International Telecommunication Union in the telecommunications world.
"What prospects do you see for Russia in the development of ties with Chinese colleagues both within the Union and in the bilateral Russia-China format, as well as within such international organizations as the SCO and BRICS?" - asked the correspondent of The Moscow Post.
Rashid Ismailov recalled that he was previously one of the first leaders of the Huawei division not from China. He noted that Chinese workers are among the best in the world, since the boss's word for them is the law.
Obviously, strategic cooperation between Russia and China in the field of ICT is a business that has its own priorities. The Chinese side will work only on the basis of its business interests, but the more Chinese companies experience problems with the West, the stronger and more intensive cooperation with Russian firms will take place. But to intensify the process of the Russian Federation, you need to have comparable power in technology. And for this you need to actively develop your own technologies and the ICT industry as a whole.
China also perfectly understands what the Russian Federation is like in terms of creativity in technological development. Chinese companies regularly encouraged Russian engineers in their subsidiaries with awards for innovation and development.
"To communicate on equal terms with China, you need to be strong," Ismailov summed up.