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The author is CEO of the Awara Group, which offers consulting, accounting, tax, and legal services. He is the author of several books on politics and philosophy, as well as Putin’s New Russia. He speaks fluent English, Russian, Finnish, and Swedish, and German, French, and Spanish less fluently. He resides in Moscow.
What prompted me to write this Awara Accounting report on the impressive development of Russia’s airports was to produce a cure for the but-beyond-the-MKAD syndrome. The MKAD is the 110 kilometer outer ring road around Moscow. And this syndrome refers to the habit of the detractors of Putin’s Russia to claim that any visible development of Russia, if any, has happened only within the limits of Moscow city – “just go outside the Ring Road and you’ll see there’s nothing but poverty and ruin.”
Many of those who suffer from this syndrome live in a deep-seated cognitive dissonance where they just refuse to trust their lying eyes, while some of them are just peddlers of pure propaganda or victims of the latter.
So, let’s see what actually happens beyond the MKAD. Amazing airports have been built or reconstructed both in Moscow and across the vast country and many other impressive projects have been presented.
And it is not just airports, it is roads and bridges, too. Those Awara has covered in other reports in the series on Putin’s incredible infrastructure investments. You can read about the amazing new bridges at this link: Putin the Pontiff – Bridge maker and the great development of Russia’s roads here.
What’s remarkable is also the efficiency and speed of the construction of the new airport terminals. Most of them have been built in three years and some in two or even less. The Simferopol airport (above) was built in two years and was up and running within three years from the decision to initiate the project. Krasnoyarsk (below) needed only1.5 years to complete the construction.Russia’s 79 international airports
Our method was to review all the airports in a list of all of Russia’s international airports. (An international airport is one into which a plane can fly directly from a foreign country as it runs a passport control). There were 79 airports in our list. From what I had registered from the news and in my travels, I expected that there would be some 10 or 15 cool new airports to present. But no. The task proved much more overwhelming as it turned out that almost every one of the listed airports had been reconstructed or was due for reconstruction.
Instead of writing up an easy piece with nice pics, I ended up spending weeks on identifying and digesting all the information. The investigation showed that practically each one of the 79 airports had either been modernized or about to be so. I identified less than 10 airports on the list of international airports which were not brought up to modern quality standards since 2000 or on the way to it. And of those half were either remote outposts or military airfields. I am confident, that all the passenger airports in the major Russian cities (defined as having some 150 thousand or more inhabitants) will be totally modernized within the next 6 years.
Practically all the development of the international airports has been funded by both public and private money, where the infrastructure like runways and flight controls have been recipients of public funds whereas the terminals have been mostly built by public funds.
In addition to the 79 international airports there are some 60 regional airports with more or less regular traffic. These will all also be upgraded according to a multibillion government program on development of regional airports running up to 2024. This forms part of a broader strategic program ordered by President Putin to improve the Russian economy, demographics and infrastructure with public and private funding amounting to a total of $400 billion.
An important goal with the development of the airports is to help decentralize the economy by way of increasing direct interconnectivity of Russian cities instead of people having to fly transit through Moscow, which has in the past really hampered the overall development of the country.Some of the airports are developed into regional logistics and business centers like the air city in Khabarovsk. The new airport facilities are really needed to keep up with the passenger boom
The new enlarged and reconstructed airports cater to a growing number of passengers. In 2000, when Putin first took office, the Russian airports served 35.5 million passengers, but by 2018 the number had grown sixfold to 205 million. That surpasses the 135 million passengers of the USSR in the 1980s. The growth has been huge and accelerating, just in five years from 2014 to 2018 the number grew by one third.
In the meanwhile, the Moscow air cluster with 97 million passengers (2018) has become Europe’s third largest air hub after London (126 mln) and Paris (104 mln). Sheremetyevo – Europe’s fastest growing airport – alone has grown 4.5 times since 2000 to present 46 million. At the same time, Moscow’s second airport Domodedovo grew from handling 2.8 million passengers in in 2000 to 30 million in 2017.
Air travel is a very solid indicator for economic activity, these figures then show that there is much going on that does not catch the eye of the GDP.MOSCOW The rapid enlargement of Sheremetyevo started when it in 2007 got the new Terminal C. Then came the fascinating Terminal D in 2009, and in 2010, the Terminal E connecting Terminal D with the old Terminal F and serving as the end station for the new airpor
When I first came to Moscow by air in 1993, the city did not have a single modern airport. Actually, back then the Sheremetyevo international airport, present day Terminal F, should have formally counted as a modern one as it was built only about a decade earlier in 1980 in time for the Moscow Olympics. But the airport – built by a West German company – was terribly outdated in design and functionality from the start. Both the façade and the interior design was informed by a dark and gloomy style prevailing in Russia during the 1970s. My impression as a passenger was that that the terminal must have been in operational neglect at least three decades by then.
I used to hate having to travel through that airport and each time I would wish they’d remove the heavy copper circles which were misdecorating the ceilings and literally weighing over the heads of the passengers. One day sometime in the early 2000s it did happen; the copper was gone and a white suspended ceiling was there instead. Somebody told me that the reason was that the commodity price of copper had surged. Whatever, I was happy for it. In the 1990s the restrooms where stinky and you’d be lucky if they were furnished with paper. And then there was the strong kerosene fumes wafting around the whole airport. An odor which you would connect with Russia in good and bad. For me it actually became so characteristic of Russia, that I later found myself upon arrival inhaling that fume, like one would mountain air, happy as I had returned to Russia from the increasingly oppressive West.
But today all has changed, if Sheremetyevo Terminal F was probably the worst of all the world’s major airports, I considered the new Terminal D as one of the best when it opened in 2009. Presently the terminal is overcrowded as it operates way over its planned capacity, but that should ease when the domestic traffic is fully transferred to the new Terminal B, which opened in 2018.
If Sheremetyevo Terminal G was depressing, then the domestic terminal then called Sheremetyevo 1 was like a parody of all that was wrong with the later stages of the USSR just before its demise. Moscow’s second airport, Domodedovo, at that time was very much the same, but today Domodedovo along with Sheremetyevo are modern international airports meeting the highest global standards. There is a third major Moscow airport as well, the Vnukovo airport. And a smaller, fourth Moscow cluster international airport, Zhukovsky (Ramenskoe) opened in 2018.
In 2018, in time for the FIFA World Cup, Moscow’s Sheremetyevo got the new Terminal B for domestic flights. This one will be merged with present Terminal C, after the renovation of the latter, to form a hub for domestic flights, while Terminals D, E and F will serve international flights. An underground shuttle train opened in 2018 already connects the domestic and international terminals.This is the old Sheremetyevo 2 (now called Terminal F), Russia’s only “modern” airport before 2000 when Putin became president.
The old Domodedovo terminal in Moscow
A waiting lounge at the old Domodedovo
The new Domodedovo (above and below)
New, in 2012 (above) and old, in 2000 (below) Vnukovo, Moscow's 3rd airport.
Let’s now go beyond the MKAD and look at the other new amazing airport complexes around the country. This is just a selection, there is much more.SAINT PETERSBURG
Saint Petersburg was really in a need of a modern airport, and it was therefore such a relief when it finally opened in 2013BELGOROD
Belgorod a city of 350 thousand inhabitants close to the Ukrainian border got this new beautiful terminal in 2013.VLADIVOSTOK
Vladivostok in Russia’s Far East got a new airport terminal in 2012 as part of the preparations for the APEC 2012 summit.YEKATERINBURG
Yekaterinburg, Russia’s third largest city on the eastern side of the Ural Mountains received a new terminal in 2009.KAZAN
This new airport complex was erected in 2012 in Kazan, the capital of the Republic of Tatarstan, Russia’s sixth most populous city. It was built in the run up to the 2013 Summer Universiade and enlarged for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.KALININGRAD
This new airport in Kaliningrad, the Russian enclave at the Baltic Sea, opened in 2017NIZHNY NOVGOROD
The new airport in Nizhny Novgorod was also built as part of Russia’s infrastructure upgrade in preparation for the 2018 football World Cup.NOVOSIBIRSK
The new airport in Novosibirsk is from 2015. Novosibirsk with 1.5 million is a city in Siberia at the Ob River. The Trans-Siberian Railway fueled much of the city's growth in the 19th century.PERM
The new terminal in Perm from 2017 is a real architectural gem. Perm has a population over one million and is located in the, Urals 300 kilometers north-west of Yekaterinburg and 400 kilometers north of Ufa.ROSTOV-ON-DON
Rostov-on-Don is one more of the cities which got a new airport terminal (opened 2017) in preparation for the FIFA 2018 World Cup. In fact, this was a brand new airport built on virgin field, whereas the other airports in this survey represent development and enlargements of previously existing airports.SABETA, YAMAL PENINSULA
Sabetta on the Yamal peninsula got an airport in 2014 in connection with Russia’s push to develop its Arctic regions and in this case especially the Yamal LNG project and the Yuzhno-Tambeyskoye gas field.SAMARA
In 2014 opened the new airport in Samara in the southeastern part of European Russia on the east bank of the river Volga.SIMFEROPOL
Simferopol airport in Russian Crimea is probably the nicest airport in the world. Built in 2018, four years after Crimea’s liberation from Ukrainian occupation.
It was an amazing feeling travelling through that airport. The architect has really managed to do what is most important in places like that, to neutralize the stress factor. Everything is so spacy, harmonious and green that you get a feeling that you are in a giant spa instead of an airport. The Simferopol airport really calmed my nerves on a busy travelling day.SOCHI
The Sochi airport was built in 2009 and enlarged in time for the 2014 Winter Olympics.TALAKAN, YAKUTIA
This airport in Talakan in the Republic of Sakha (Yakutia) opened in 2012.TYUMEN
The new international terminal in Tyumen was opened in 2017. Tyumen was the first Russian settlement in Siberia and now has an estimated population of 750 thousand.UFA
Ufa, the capital city of Bashkortostan at the Urals received this new air terminal in 2015.VOLGOGRAD
This is the airport in Volgograd, the WWII name of which was Stalingrad. A new international terminal was constructed in 2016 and in 2018 another terminal for domestic flights was opened to accommodate football fans for FIFA 2018.KRASNOYARSK
The newly constructed airport in Krasnoyarsk opened in December 2017. Krasnoyarsk is located at the Yenisei River in Siberia. With a population over one million it is the third largest Siberian city after Novosibirsk and Omsk. Novosibirsk got a new airport in 2015 and Omsk will get one before 2022.Those were some of the airports built and upgraded within the last decade, now let’s look on some airport projects underway. GROZNY
The Chechen strongman Ramzan Kadyrov presented in May 2018 this bold project for the new airport in the Chechen capital Grozny. The construction is expected to commence in 2020.SARATOV
The projected new terminal at the Saratov airport is one more of the new Russian airports with daring architecture, not only functionality but beauty, too. Saratov on the Volga River and with a population of some 850 thousand will have this airport up and running in 2019.IRKUTSK
The Irkutsk airport will be modernized with this new terminal in 2020. Irkutsk is a city of 600 thousand people near the Lake Baikal.KRASNODAR
Krasnodar, Russia’s fastest growing city, in the South of the country will get a new airport and air city hub by 2023.NALCHIK
This new terminal in Nalchik is due by 2020. Nalchik is a city of 300 thousand situated at an altitude of 550 meters (1,800 ft) in the foothills of the Caucasus Mountains.PETROPAVLOVSK-KAMCHATSKY
Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky is Russia’s easternmost big city situated on the Kamchatka Peninsula. Interestingly, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky is actually situated quite a bit eastward from Tokyo if you go by the latitude of geographic coordinates. That should really give you an idea how huge Russia is. This new airport terminal will be erected there by 2021.KHABAROVSK
As part of Putin’s drive to develop Russia’s Far East, Khabarovsk will get a new modern airport terminal by 2019. Further the airport will be developed into a logistic hub with an air city consisting of business centers, hotels and an exposition center. Khabarovsk, a city of more than half a million people, is located at the confluence of the Amur and Ussuri Rivers about 800 kilometers north of Vladivostok and only 30 kilometers from the Chinese border.CHELYABINSK
Chelyabinsk is just to the east of the Ural Mountains and 210 kilometers south of Yekaterinburg. This city with more than 1 million inhabitants will soon get this new airport terminal which is due in 2019. The construction was spurred by the BRICS and Shanghai Cooperation Organization summits to be held in Chelyabinsk in 2020.YUZHNO-SAKHALINSK
Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk with a population of 200 thousand is on the Sakhalin island, one thousand kilometer west from the Kamchatka Peninsula. Their new airport terminal is due by end of 2019 so as to accommodate growing needs of tourism and business.GELENDZHIK
We will round off this survey with this impressive new airport terminal which will be erected in Gelendzhik. Gelendzhik is a Black Sea resort 250 kilometer west from Sochi. In fact, between Sochi and Anapa on the whole coast, there are no high quality resorts except for Gelendzhik, but this one is truly a gem. The new terminal will be built by 2021. Gelendzhik is the only one in our survey which does not presently have the status of international airport, but that should be taken care of by the time this new airport is done. With Gelendzhik completed, Russia’s Black Sea region will have six modern large airports – Sochi, Gelendzhik, Anapa, Simferopol, Krasnodar, Rostov-on-Don – in a matrix of roughly 300 kilometers between airport. That is an impressive density in itself and doubly remarkable considering there was not a single decent airport there before 2009. Considering also the road building happening in the region, the area is on its way to develop into a Russian Provence, with which it already shares the climate and nature.
Subsidiaries of Russian state technology agency Rostec will start jointly developing equipment for 5G networks, Vedomosti daily reported on February 3 citing representatives of the agency and unnamed industry sources.
As reported by bne IntelliNews, the Kremlin chose unpopular frequencies for 5G rollout to drive home-made infrastructure development and could enforce the use of domestically produced servers only.
Reportedly GlobalInformService (GIS) and Sozvezdie have already designed and produced 4G network equipment under Rostec’s patronage. However, state funding for the companies currently amounts to only RUB224mn ($3.5mn).
By comparison, the Ministry of Industry and Trade estimated the total cost of 5G and IoT (internet of things) roll-out at RUB28bn (RUB16bn of federal funding and RUB12bn of non-budgetary funds). The total cost of all network equipment could amount to up to RUB650bn.
Analysts surveyed by Vedomosti stress that until the question of 5G frequencies is decided, it is not clear how the developers could start producing the necessary equipment. The competitiveness of Russian solutions developed from scratch is also questioned.
As analysed by bne IntelliNews, the introduction of the 5G network has been impeded by a lack of clear policy, decisions on framework frequency allocation, rollout strategy and the lack of co-operation within and with the private sector.
The following is excerpted from a lengthy article at The Saker's blog.
The United States runs the by far biggest and most bloated healthcare sector in the world when measured as a share of the total economy. Its annual value was $3.7 trillion, amounting to 17.9% of GDP (2018). That is nearly double the average of developed Western countries (as a share of GDP). The enormous expense does not buy Americans any better health than the Europeans get for half the price, in fact the health outcomes are far inferior in the US. In life expectancy, the US has fallen down to 33rd place, even overtaken by Cuba.
Exorbitant prices on drugs, medical treatment and health insurances are crushing consumers. Half of working age American adults have either no insurance at all or only an inadequate insurance and therefore risk being financially ruined for any kind of medical treatment – even just checking in at a hospital and leaving the same day could land you with a five-figure bill. Studies have shown that two-thirds of Americans are not able to afford a $500 unexpected cost for medical emergency, a sum which will not get you even past reception at an American hospital. According to the American Cancer Society, 137 million Americans suffered medical financial hardship in 2018. They then had to resort to borrow a total of $88 billion only to cover their necessary medical expenses. Medical bills are now the primary factor in two-thirds of all personal bankruptcies in the United States.
In a unique study covering the entire US healthcare sector, Awara Accounting has dug into the problems of the US pharma and healthcare industries, and the findings are shocking. The Awara study shows that in addition to the original sin of corporate greed, the exorbitant costs of the US healthcare system stem from layers upon layers of distortions with which the system is infested. Each part of the healthcare industry contributes to what is a giant monopoly scam: the pharmaceutical companies, medical equipment manufacturers, drug wholesalers, drug stores, group purchasing organizations, health insurance companies, doctors, clinics and hospitals, and even what should be impartial university research. And on top of that, there’s the government as a giant enabler of monopolized corporations running roughshod over the American consumer and patient.
But it is worse than that. All the monopolists (in official parlance, oligopolies) are in turn owned by the same set of investors in what is called horizontal shareholding. The same some 15-20 investors have the controlling stake in all the leading companies of the entire pharma and healthcare industry.
That’s not all. Two of the investors, BlackRock and Vanguard, are the biggest owners in almost every single one of the leading companies.
Furthermore, BlackRock is owned by Vanguard, BlackRock’s biggest owner being a mystical PNC Services, whose biggest owner in turn is Vanguard. Vanguard itself is recorded directly as BlackRock’s second biggest owner. Moreover, BlackRock and Vanguard are the two biggest owners of almost all the other 15-20 biggest investors, which most are cross-owned and together own the entire US pharma and healthcare sector. Ultimately, then we might have the situation that the whole healthcare sector and Big Pharma are controlled by one giant oligarch clan (and the very real people who stand behind them), one single interest group of oligarch investors.
Besides, it’s the same for the entire US economy. Those two investors control almost all major US companies.
Incredible? Read on, the evidence with charts and details is below in the text.
Now, this means that we are not exaggerating when we talk about an oligarch takeover of the US pharma and healthcare industries. It’s real. And very real people suffer for real.
As far as we know, this is the first report to reveal this mind-boggling extent of monopolization and concentration of ownership in US pharma and healthcare. This monopolization is fast approaching Soviet levels, with the same lethal consequences.
Another particularly important thing in the Awara report is that the US healthcare crisis and global comparisons serve as a marvelous case study to show what is wrong with neoliberalism and how the so-called free-market is not necessarily better than a mixed economy. At the very core of the US healthcare crisis, is the American ideological precept that healthcare must be a private corporate for-profit business – never mind any level of predatory monopolies. But compared with European countries the US loses hands down on every parameter. European life expectancy and health outcomes are far better at half the cost. In a European-style system all citizens have nearly equal access to general health services without having to incur financial hardship in a medical emergency. It has then been clearly shown that, the European mixed system of universal healthcare with public insurance and public hospitals, coupled with government regulation of drug prices and their availability, works best. And there’s a lesson for the wider economy, too.
Yet when you mention government regulation, price controls and universal healthcare, US politicians from both parties and most analysts (of the type that make it into mainstream media) pull out the socialism card. But this is not a question of the free-market vs. socialism. There can be no such question because, first, a mixed economy is not socialism. And, second, there is no free market in the United States any longer. What used to be a free market aka Capitalism, is nothing but a crony capitalist monopoly ridden system almost exclusively controlled by an ever more consolidating group of oligarchs. The choice is not between socialism and capitalism, but between a real market economy and the present oligarchy....
The end result is that today a close-knit oligarchy controls all major corporations and most of the US economy. Nowhere is this ownership concentration and its pernicious effects so visible as in the pharma and healthcare industries.
The definitive takeaway from all this is that the myth of the superiority of private over public ownership is wrong. It would absolutely not make any sense to privatize healthcare and public utilities according to the tenets of the free-market religion. It is perfectly well and beneficial to leave the backbones of the economy in public ownership as long as there is a mixed economy with private competition challenging government ownership and as long as the government does not mess with areas of the economy which are not crucial for the national well-being.
The most important lesson for the rest of the world from this case study of the US healthcare sector is that the US ideology of neoliberalism and the crony capitalism that it breeds does not bring real life value for an economy, on the contrary, we have seen that privatization is detrimental over state ownership and public services in the healthcare sector, and therefore it must be the case in many other core sectors of the economy as well.
Unfortunately, I think the US healthcare system is unreformable – as is the economy at large. One day the whole economy will just implode and reform itself through a cataclysm of epic proportions, as was the case with Soviet Russia.
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As research relations sour with American universities, China’s tech giant finds willing partners in institutes keen to monetise their technical skills
Collaboration offers Huawei added strengthen in areas such as mathematics and gives Russian laboratories access to marketing expertise
One by one the doors closed. Over the past 18 months, top US universities including Princeton, Stanford and the University of California, Berkeley have rethought their research ties with Chinese telecom giant Huawei Technologies
Partnerships were cancelled, cheques refused and moratoriums put on new contracts after US officials raised the alarm about potential national security concerns and federal investigations into intellectual property theft and sanctions violations.
The universities’ actions were in response to claims from US lawmakers and officials that the company’s products could expose networks to Chinese spying or disruption.
But just as these American partnerships were ending, Huawei representatives were at work on the other side of the world, expanding company ties with researchers and universities in a country closer to home.
In Russia, where building science and technology partnerships with China is a new top priority, Huawei has embarked on a flurry of campus visits, grant offers and joint agreements to work with institutes of higher education.
The company wants to enlist universities for research in areas ranging from artificial intelligence and data processing to optical technology and cloud networks, and is finding eager allies as the United States and China compete for future artificial intelligence and tech dominance.
Observers and researchers say the relationship has the potential to play to each partner’s strengths.
In the last six months, at least eight top Russian universities and research institutes have announced new or expanded partnerships with Huawei. Of those, four involved plans for research collaborations including in wireless communications, neural networks, machine learning, and data storage and processing.
“Our mission is to turn knowledge into money and money into knowledge. We are ready to finance research … even if it does not solve specific problems, but simply moves science forward,” Zhou Hong, president of the Huawei European Research Institute, said during a meeting at Siberia’s Novosibirsk State Technical University in July.
The school agreed to “jointly train graduate students and conduct research” with Huawei, according to the university.
The programmes are part of the company’s US$300 million annual strategy to cultivate universities around the world as a source of innovation for products from its mobile phones to network and cloud infrastructure.
In Russia, Huawei’s focus is on “advancing the artificial intelligence ecosystem”, starting with the launch of Huawei’s Atlas AI computing platform products, which the company says can support large-scale AI projects like smart cities.
Huawei chief strategy architect Dang Wenshuan outlined the plan in Moscow earlier this month.
“Huawei aims to work with industry organisations, and engage over 100,000 AI developers, more than 100 [independent software vendors], and over 20 universities to build an AI ecosystem within five years, bringing AI applications to more industries,” Dang said.
To that end, the company has been encouraging Russian universities to take part in its Huawei Innovation Research Programme, suggesting areas for proposals, with up to US$70,000 on offer for each project.
The programme covers 18 countries and has been a major channel for Huawei’s engagement with US universities. The research areas of highest priority include big data, AI, optical technology, cloud networks, the internet of things and wireless technology, according to Russia’s Kazan Federal University, which made several submissions.
At the same time, Russia has embraced Huawei, which first set up shop there in the late 1990s. In June, the company signed a deal with Russian telecoms company MTS to develop a 5G network, and its smartphones overtook Samsung as the top mobile phone brand in the country earlier this year, according to market analysts Counterpoint Research.
The company’s drive comes as Russia and China seek to strengthen not only diplomatic relations and trade ties but also collaboration on technology and research.
In June, Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin, called for 2020 and 2021 to be dedicated to “Russian-Chinese scientific, technical and innovation cooperation”, from joint training of researchers to integration of research and technical skills.
Elsa Kania, an adjunct senior fellow with the technology and national security programme at the Centre for a New American Security in Washington, said the controversy in the US might have exposed a vulnerability for the company in the West, prompting it to look to China’s neighbour.
“Huawei’s recent expansion in Russia could reflect the fact that there’s a greater awareness of the extent to which the company is still reliant on its research partnerships and recruitment of talent from North America, particularly the United States, as well as into Europe,” said Kania, who co-authored a report on China and Russia’s hi-tech ties.
While Russia might not rival the US in research talent, Russia’s institutional strengths in information technology, programming, and mathematics are appealing to Huawei as it “risks being shut out from access to Silicon Valley and pushed from [US] university campuses”, according to Alexander Gabuev, chair of the Russia in the Asia-Pacific programme at the Carnegie Moscow Centre.
Here, they try to tap into halls of talent that are not necessarily better than Chinese engineers, but who are different in the patterns of their thinking and different in approaching the same technological problems,” Gabuev said.
In return, Huawei, which declined a request to comment, offers manufacturing and marketing expertise to Russian laboratories struggling to monetise their research.
Igor Pivovarov, chief analyst at the Centre for Artificial Intelligence at the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, which recently announced the start of a partnership with Huawei, said politics was not the driving force.
“I worry about the idea of this big AI ‘race’ between the States and China … The sciences are not political, we would like to work with everyone. If more Chinese companies come we will work with them, and if more US companies come we would also like to work with them,” said Pivovarov, whose team publishes AI industry information in collaboration with the centre.
“The best way is for Russia to focus on what we can do, research and technology development. We can make patents and then license them. Manufacturing these days is better to do in China.
“We consider Chinese companies as having great potential and great experience, they can be great partners for doing business.”
Similar considerations have driven the creation of a joint innovation laboratory between Huawei and the Centre for Data Intensive Science and Education at the private Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology in Moscow, known as Skoltech, which has industry partnerships with a number of overseas and domestic industry partners, including Philips and Samsung.
The centre’s collaboration with Huawei has grown from one research contract in 2013 to 10 active partnerships worth US$2 million annually, a figure that does not include the algorithm-development joint innovation laboratory, which opened in June.
At the laboratory, students have already started developing and optimising algorithms for use in neural networks and human pose modelling, helping to improve Huawei chips and cameras.
Ivan Khlebnikov, head of external partnerships for the centre, and executive secretary of the joint lab, said that all the intellectual property produced in the Huawei-funded projects was jointly owned by the school and the company.
He also said that over the years of collaboration “we understand that Skoltech and Huawei need each other”.
Huawei is a company that meets market requirements every day, and its products are the top technology products in the world, so the problems that Huawei faces are the most advanced. To be the best in the world, their algorithms for image processing also need to be the best,” Khlebnikov said.
“We have some of the best scientists, with specialisations in AI, computer vision and big data.”
Gabuev, from the Carnegie Moscow Centre, said that while national security and intellectual property concerns dominated discussions in the US, they were less of a consideration in Russia. Russian institutions saw China as a partner that could make up for their own deficiencies, and play to Russian strengths, he said.
“The question is that is China interested in an unstable Russia? Does it want to disrupt the Russian economy? And the answer is no,” he said, adding that risks were assessed on a case-by-case basis.
“Russians know we don’t have our national champion like Huawei, we are never going to build one, so how do we integrate ourselves into this global value chain and earn more and create conditions for people to stay in Russia?
“[For that reason] Russia sees a lot of benefit in partnering with Huawei and other Chinese companies … the overall trend is that we can come up as part of the global product in tandem with the Chinese, where we provide fundamental research.”
Such economic needs play well for Huawei, as they and other Chinese tech giants look to “expand their international presence and their understanding and ability to access other markets” through working with researchers around the world, according to Andrew Kennedy, an associate professor at Australian National University’s policy and governance programme who researches global innovation.
“The US doesn’t need the Chinese investment in hi-tech, so [for them] it’s about how can we effectively constrain them, but for other countries, they are interested in that kind of investment, and it’s a tougher choice because they don’t have a lot of hi-tech companies who are doing a lot of research and development,” Kennedy said.
At Skoltech in Moscow, doctoral candidates have the chance to work with researchers from Huawei’s Moscow research centre, giving them not only technical experience and access to job opportunities when they graduate, but also exposure to international corporate culture, according to Khlebnikov.
“China is becoming a leader in the world in many areas, and there is a common understanding that China will strengthen its leadership in the future,” he said.
As the school builds relationships with partners across cultures from Russia to Europe to China, “the future is the playground for our students”.
MOSCOW, October 26, 2019 – RIA Novosti – The Russian Ministry of Defense has published satellite intelligence images, showing American oil smuggling from Syria.Minister of Defense Sergey Shoygu
According to the ministry, the photos confirm that “Syrian oil, both before and after the routing defeat of the Islamic State terrorists in land beyond the Euphrates river, under the reliable protection by US military servicemen, oil was actively being extracted and then the fuel trucks were massively being sent for processing outside of Syria.”Image 1: Situation in the Syrian Arab Republic as of October 26, 2019.
Here, in a picture of the Daman oil gathering station (42 kilometers east of the Deir-ez-Zor province), taken on August 23, a large amount of trucks were spotted. “There were 90 automotive vehicles, including 23 fuel trucks,” the caption to the image said.Image 2: Daman oil gathering station, Syria, Deir ez-Zor province, 42 km east of Deir ez-Zor, August 23, 2019.
In addition, on September 5, there were 25 vehicles in the Al-Hasakah province, including 22 fuel trucks. Three days later, on September 8, in the vicinity of Der Ez-Zor, 36 more vehicles were recorded (32 of them were fuel trucks). On the same day, 41 vehicles, including 34 fuel trucks, were in the Mayadin onshore area.Image 3: Gathering of vehicles in Syria, Al-Hasakah province, 8 km west of Al-Shaddadi, September 5, 2019.
As the official representative of the Defense Ministry Igor Konashenkov noted, the Americans are extracting oil in Syria with the help of equipment, bypassing their own sanctions.
Igor Konashenkov: “Under the protection of American military servicemen and employees of American PMCs, fuel trucks from the oil fields of Eastern Syria are smuggling to other states. In the event of any attack on such a caravan, special operations forces and US military aircraft are immediately called in to protect it,” he said.Igor Konashenkov
According to Konashenkov, the US-controlled company Sadcab, established under the so-called Autonomous Administration of Eastern Syria, is engaged in the export of oil, and the income of smuggling goes to the personal accounts of US PMCs and special forces.
The Major General added that as of right now, a barrel of smuggled Syrian oil is valued at $38, therefore the monthly revenue of US governmental agencies exceeds $30 million.Image 4: Gathering of vehicles in Syria, Deir ez-Zor province, 10 km east of Mayadin, September 8, 2019.
“For such a continuous financial flow, free from control and taxes of the American government, the leadership of the Pentagon and Langley will be ready to guard and defend oil fields in Syria from the mythical ‘hidden IS cells’ endlessly,” he said.
According to Konashenkov, Washington, by holding oil fields in eastern Syria, is engaged in international state banditry.
The reason for this activity, he believes, “lies far from the ideals of freedom proclaimed by Washington and their slogans on the fight against terrorism.”Image 5: Gathering of vehicles in Syria, Deir ez-Zor province, 14 km east of Mayadin, September 8, 2019.
Igor Konashenkov: “Neither in international law, nor in American legislation itself – there is not and cannot be a single legal task for the American troops to protect and defend the hydrocarbon deposits of Syria from Syria itself and its own people,” the representative of the Defense Ministry concluded.
A day earlier, the Pentagon’s head, Mark Esper declared that the United States is studying the situation in the Deir ez-Zor region and intends to strengthen its positions there in the near future “to ensure the safety of oil fields.”
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