Voices from Russia

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Russia Strives to be amongst Top Three in Supercomputers

Filed under: business,economy,internet,politics,Russian — 01varvara @ 00.00

Andrei Kokoshin, head of the RD Gosduma committee on industry, construction, and high technology

Russia could be among the three leading producers of supercomputers after the US and Japan. In an interview with Voice of Russia, Andrei Kokoshin, the head of the RF Gosduma committee on industry, construction, and high-technology and the head of the centre for national security issues, said that experience gained by Russian scientists played a great role in promoting information technology although had not played down the significance of using advanced developments by most developed countries.

“Russia has its own rich experience, both Soviet and post-Soviet, gained in developing technology and sophisticated computing systems. The Soviet Union developed sophisticated computing systems for civil and military purposes. This technology became an integral part of Russia’s common IT system. Russia is not an underdeveloped country. It has very high scientific and technical potential, although it lost quite a bit in the 90s. But, much has been restored in the past years. For one, the local electronics industry was restored. Russia cannot claim superpower status without progress in this area. However, its share of this segment in the Russian economy is still small, but, it has lately grown stably. If this area is appropriately supported by the partnership of the government and private companies, Russia could be amongst the leaders. This concerns, first and foremost, supercomputing techniques. Consequently, Russia has a better opportunity be among the three countries that produce supercomputers. The US and Japan head this group. Japan has technologically surpassed the European Union. China and India are moving up to reach them. There is a great probability that Russia could surpass these two countries”.

The enterprise in Zelenograd on the outskirts of Moscow uses advanced local equipment and its own research and developments. Russia gives priority to upgrade its competitiveness, living standards, and quality of life in promoting an information-oriented society in our country. This also concerns the creation of equal possibilities in granting access to information and IT. In view of this, to be among the three leaders in the development of supercomputers is an urgent task for Russia.

23 July 2008

Voice of Russia World Service



Igor Shchegolev: By 2015 Russia Will Be Amongst the Leaders in Information Technology

Filed under: business,economy,internet,politics,Russian — 01varvara @ 00.00

Minister of Communications Igor Shchegolev

Minister of Communications Igor Shchegolev does not exclude that in 7 years Russia can be among the 20 leading countries in high-tech. In an interview with Voice of Russia, he said, Russia is a part of the information world. All information networks came to Russia at the same time they came to the United States. First, scientific communication networks appeared, that is, the members of scientific community were the first to communicate in such a way. Later, it turned out that gradually all of us began using those infrastructural elements. What this meant is that our life became more interesting, its quality improved. The first step to this is the opportunity of developing TV education, that is, Russian students will study in foreign educational establishments using computer networks. This is certainly a comprehensive way to develop our communication technologies. When we create an ‘electronic state’, our networks will also be available abroad. People abroad will be able to see what is happening in Russia, how we defend our rights, and in what directions we are advancing. In conditions of transparency, there will be greater confidence that any money invested in our economy will not be lost. Therefore, we hope that for our partners abroad and investors this will be a good opportunity of finding out more about Russia, of loving it, and investing in it”.

Mr Shchegolev gave this interview in the wake of a State Council session dealing with the strategy of information and communication technologies in Russia. He said that the country planed to preserve present rates of disseminating information technologies and planned to approach the rate of the world’s leaders. For this, he believes, the country’s intellectual, organisational, and financial resources should be mobilised and priorities of development specified. Asked about the creation of a coordinating body under the Russian president to promote the development of an information society, Mr Shchegolev said that the idea could only be hailed. He named among standing priorities a changeover to digital TV. There are plans to begin acting on the federal goal-oriented programme next year. In keeping with the president’s decree, reception of 20 TV programmes should be ensured on the country’s territory. This will require perfection of the communications-satellite system. So, in February 2009, another satellite will be launched. According to Mr Shchegolev, it would be proper to ensure government support for the design of new promising computers and telecommunications equipment. The process can be stepped up if the business community will take the responsibility for changes in the production of electronic equipment.

22 July 2008

Voice of Russia World Service


UN Calls the International Community to Observe a Truce during the Beijing Olympiad

The UN calls the international community to observe a truce during the Beijing Olympiad to be held from 8 to 24 August. On Wednesday, the UN General Assembly approved a draft resolution on sport as a means of promoting education, health, development, and peace. Russia was a co-sponsor of the draft. The UN insists that a truce be observed during the forthcoming Olympic Games. In keeping with the tradition of the Games, just as in the days of the classical Greek Olympics, all participants should have the opportunity to come to the Games and to return home safe and sound. Today, the idea of the Olympic truce acquires a new meaning. First of all, it is a rejection of the use of force in religious conflicts and hostage-taking with a view to getting ransom or gaining certain political goals. The call for an Olympic truce is also addressed to those who resort to terror as a means of resolving geo-political problems.

Gennady Shvets, the Press Secretary of the Russian National Olympic Committee, stated in an interview with Voice of Russia that he was convinced that the international community could properly hold the Olympic Games in Beijing, in an atmosphere of accord and honest competition. He said, “The Olympic Games is a possession of the whole of our civilisation, and, probably, it is the most fascinating invention of mankind. The gist of it is that one’s strength and superiority is proved not by means of lethal weapons, but, in an all-out struggle in the sports arena. Certainly, not all that one wishes becomes true in sports. Yet, sport, including the Olympic Games, is not only points and medals. This is a grand international event that must not be overshadowed by anything that has no direct connection with it.

In the run up to Olympic Games in Beijing, the organisers introduced greater security measures for the participants, coaches, guests of honour, and attendees. Clearly, they should be seen as a preventative measure against any attempts to cast a shadow on this holiday of sport. Russia and Central Asian states have given China much help in creating a reliable security shield along its borders. We have done so that the Beijing Olympic Games could become a shining chapter in sports history as well as one of the most well-organised and colourful. The Russian National Olympic Committee knows all too well what painstaking effort the Chinese leaders and people have put into the preparations for the forthcoming Olympiad and is convinced of their full success”.

24 July 2008

Voice of Russia World Service


Vsevolod Ovchinnikov: “The Roots of Different Cultures and Civilisations are tightly intertwined”

Filed under: cultural,intellectual,literature/belles lettres,Russian — 01varvara @ 00.00

Vsevolod Ovchinnikov (1926- ), Russian journalist and author

“The roots of different cultures and civilisations are tightly intertwined”. This is a central argument of the legendary Russian writer, internationalist, and journalist Vsevolod Ovchinnikov. His opinion is shared by thousands of readers. At 82, Mr Ovchinnikov enjoys so huge a popularity that a collection of his works saw a new edition this year. The books written by Mr Ovchinnikov are a rich collection of cross-cultural knowledge based on an equally-rich personal experience. He spent 25 years of his life working in China, Japan, and Britain as a journalist, and his books provide a profound insight into the nature of western and eastern civilisations. His most popular works about Japan and Britain, A Branch of Sakura and The Roots of an Oak-Tree, have been translated into many languages. Also, he published a collection of works under the title Eyewitness Account, which describes a round-the-world trip from New Zealand to South America, and a fabulous story about Tibet called Ascension to Shambhala.

Mr Ovchinnikov said, “I investigate the ‘living grammar’ of foreign peoples. For example, look at the Chinese in contrast to the Japanese; they believe they are the masters of creation, who rule everything material. Conditionally speaking, Chinese consider that it is possible to carve out a living doll from a log, whilst the Japanese are certain that they must preserve a log as it is, to protect its created nature. The Japanese will trim a tree a bit, he will touch it up, but, it must be as close as possible to the tree in its natural growth. Likewise, a city, in his opinion, it must grow as naturally as the forest grows. Tokyo and, for example, London, these are precisely such cities; they grew, ‘like the forest’. But, let us say, Peking, Paris, and St Petersburg, these are cities created entirely on another concept”. He once remarked, “We often tend to think that people from other countries think and react as we do, but, this is not so. In order to avoid mistakes, you ought to investigate ‘the soul of a people’, and on peoples’ souls, I build my travel guide”.

Studying the world outlook and psychology of different civilisations and cultures, Mr Ovchinnikov reveals their differences and similarities, take, for instance, China and Russia. “The basic teachings of Confucius start with a phrase that calls for continuous learning and application of the material learned as a supreme joy. Confucianism in China led to a cult of knowledge, which was seen as a main route of social mobility. In feudal China, for 2,000 years, government posts were distributed through open competitions in the knowledge of Confucian texts and the ability to apply them to settle everyday problems. The winners were assigned posts that could be as high as ministers in the imperial court. The cult of knowledge is equally relevant for present-day Russia. We are faced with a similar task, to, as a Confucian would say, ‘transform a quantitative jump into a qualitative improvement to create a knowledge-based economy’, which is the very innovation-based transformation currently developing in our country”.

One of the conclusions Mr Ovchinnikov draws from years of professional and life experience is that “it’s wrong to measure other people by your own yardstick and lean on your own values, because no values are universal, like the grammar rules of a language”. He argues, “That for supreme harmony, the present-day world should follow a symphonic pattern in its development, when every nation, like a musical instrument in a symphony orchestra, plays its own part”. A guide to national souls, Vsevolod Ovchinnikov sees an ideal future in unity in diversity.

24 July 2008

Olga Bugrova

Voice of Russia World Service


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