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'We Are Open to Cooperation on an Equal Basis and Will Find a Path to a Better Future'

'We Are Open to Cooperation on an Equal Basis and Will Find a Path to a Better Future'

© photo.roscongress.org

How are digital platforms contributing to sustainable development? How is international cooperation progressing in Eurasia? How should the Russia-India business dialogue proceed? HSE University's scientists presented their answers during expert discussions at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum.

Creative Industries and Geopolitics

The Russian Design Space hosted a session titled 'Training for Creative Industries'. The session was attended by Professor Tatyana Rivchun, Deputy Dean of the HSE Faculty of Creative Industries.

Andrey Bystritskiy, Dean of the HSE Faculty of Creative Industries and Chairman of the Board of the Foundation for Development and Support of the Valdai Discussion Club, opened the discussion 'Conflict or Harmony? The Secret of Proper Development in the 21st Century.' 'The St Petersburg Economic Forum itself, attended by representatives from 136 countries, exemplifies the desire, shared by most of the world, for collaborative interaction, rational approaches, and the harmony of interests. Conflicts, which for a long time seemed to be a means of shaping the future, appear increasingly ineffective in fulfilling that role. And we need to find new ways for countries to interact with one another,' Andrei Bystritskiy said.

The panellists included Ram Madhav Varanasi, President, India Foundation; Gustavo De Carvalho, Senior Fellow, Russian-African Relations at the South African Institute of International Affairs, South Africa; Dr Connie Rahakundini Bakrie, Professor, Faculty of International Relations, St Petersburg State University, Indonesia; Henry Huiyao Wang, Founder, President, Centre for China and Globalization, China; and Ruslan Yunusov, Co-founder, Russian Quantum Centre. The discussion was moderated by Fyodor Lukyanov, Academic Director, Foundation for Development and Support of the Valdai Discussion Club, and Research Professor, HSE University.

International Partnerships: Development and Growth

HSE Vice Rector Victoria Panova opened and moderated the SPIEF session 'The Greater Eurasian Partnership as a New Pole of Growth: Potential and Prospects.'

She noted that the greater Eurasian partnership would enhance economic and trade cooperation and lead to new tourism and infrastructure projects. 'We are open to cooperation on an equal basis and will find a path forward, a path to a better future,' Victoria Panova said. 

Alexander Pankin, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, emphasised that Eurasia could become a seamless space, uniting not only ancient civilizations but also countries with skilled labour, modern technologies, and interconnected energy and transport corridors.

Alexander Shokhin, President of HSE University and Head of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs, stressed the need for a clear and concise agenda for society and business to expand integration. 'The business community will drive the Greater Eurasia project forward,' Alexander Shokhin asserted.

The session panellists and contributors also included Dmitry Volvach, Deputy Minister of Economic Development of the Russian Federation; Sergey Glazyev, Member of the Board, Minister in Charge of Integration and Macroeconomics, Eurasian Economic Commission; Konstantin Zatulin, First Deputy Chairman of the Committee of the Russian State Dumaof on CIS Affairs, Eurasian Integration and Relations with Compatriots; Nenad Popovic, Minister Without Portfolio, Government of the Republic of Serbia; Khan Sohail, Deputy Secretary General, Shanghai Cooperation Organisation; Abdul Umari, Acting Minister of Labour and Social Affairs of Afghanistan; Karin Kneissl, ex-Minister of Foreign Affairs of Austria; and Ilan Shor, head of the 'Victory' political bloc, Moldova.

Digital and Fast-growing

Yaroslav Kuzminov, Academic Supervisor of HSE University and Coordinator of the Expert Council under the Government of the Russian Federation, addressed the session 'How Digital Platforms and Ecosystems are Transforming the Economy.' He believes that the key effect of digital platforms is to even out access to goods and a substantial portion of services for the majority of the population, particularly in small and remote communities.

'If we rewind 15 years, we can compare what was available to people in small towns and settlements then to what is available now; this tangible effect of digital platforms makes a significant contribution to the quality of life,' he explained.

He also noted that Russia is at the forefront of integrating technology with market organisation.

He explained that there are three levels of platforms: classifieds or digital bulletin boards, marketplaces, and service providers or digital sellers. In addition, there is a separate ecosystem level. The issue is that these levels often get confused when it comes to regulation. He believes that this rapidly growing sector of the economy cannot but be regarded as a potential source of state income.

'Proposing that digital platforms should currently pay a 30% social tax on income would be impractical, as a significant portion of platform employment consists of supplementary rather than primary jobs. This type of employment traditionally hasn't involved such deductions,' according to Kuzminov.

He also highlighted issues with the quality of goods and counterfeit products. While these challenges exist everywhere, digital platforms seem to highlight them. Platforms offer opportunities both in terms of pricing and in establishing the quality of goods—primarily through mandatory characteristics that sellers must declare.

Data Economy: Shaping the Future

Systemic changes in the global economy over recent years, given their scale and diversity, raise a number of serious questions concerning Russia's future potential in economics, science, and technology. One potential answer is the development of a data economy, which could create a multiplier effect and enable the country to achieve technological sovereignty.

Alexander Chulok, Director of the HSE ISSEK Centre for Science and Technology Foresight, moderated the session 'Russia’s Data Economy: Shaping Trajectories to 2050.'

He presented to the audience a semantic map of future global trends, compiled by HSE University's big data mining system iFORA. According to the speaker, each of these trends creates opportunities for the data economy.

The top trends include the emergence of new diseases and various lockdowns, population aging and its prevention through personalised medicine, new tourism industries, carbon-neutral cities, the sharing economy, and climate change.

Russia and India Strengthen Cooperation

A separate event of the SPIEF was the Russia—India business dialogue. Vinay Kumar, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of India to the Russian Federation, assured that the recent elections in India would not affect the Russian—Indian cooperation. Today, in his opinion, trade should expand and diversify, while manifesting sustainable growth and increased exports of Indian goods to Russia. Vinay Kumar also emphasized the need to create joint Russian—Indian events and to boost tourist flow from Russia to India.

Vladimir Ilichev, Deputy Minister of Economic Development of the Russian Federation, noted that joint efforts of the governments and businesses in both countries are essential to achieve a better balance in bilateral relations. He highlighted progress in the negotiations on a free trade agreement and expressed optimism given that experts recently proceeded to consultations on specific issues.

Anastasia Likhacheva, Dean of the Faculty of World Economy and International Affairs, stressed the importance of training specialists who would be involved in developing bilateral cooperation.

Specific projects are needed today to enhance this cooperation. 'One of the new areas which I'd like to cover in more detail is the service sector driven by advanced technologies and education,' Anastasia Likhacheva said.

She noted that scientists at HSE University and Indian researchers engaged in collaborative efforts found bilateral projects in digital technologies, nuclear energy, industrial biotechnologies, cybersecurity of critical infrastructure, and space technologies to hold the best prospects. 'In each of these niches, there are specific steps that we can take together,' said the Dean.

Other participants in the business dialogue included Tribhuvan Darbari, Chairman of the India-Russia Business Council, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry; Rahul Narwekar, Honourable Speaker, Maharashtra Legislative Assembly; Pradeep Sreedharan, Director, Verkko Group; Debjit Chakraborty, Director, Chamber for Indo-Russo Technology Collaboration; Kirill Lipa, General Director, Transmashholding; Vadim Lobov, President, Synergy Corporation; Sirodzh Loikov, First Deputy General Director, PhosAgro; German Maslov, Vice President of Liner and Logistic Division, FESCO; and Ivan Nosov, Chief Manager, Branch of Sberbank in India.

On the sidelines of the St Petersburg International Economic Forum, HSE University signed the following cooperation agreements:

 with the Government of Smolensk Region and Smolensk State University, providing for a network-based double-degree bachelor's programme in Applied Mathematics and Computer Science to be launched between HSE University and Smolensk State University;

 with the Governor and the Council of Deputies of Lipetsk Region, aimed at advancing the region's socio-economic development and enhancing the quality of education;

with Innopraktika to implement joint projects on exchange of experience with African countries;

with Innopraktika to implement joint projects on exchange of experience with African countries;

with Mendeleev Institute of Demographic Policy;

with the Wildberries company;

with the Government of the Republic of North Ossetia-Alania on partnership in the fields of education, science, training of human resources, and socio-economic development of the region;

with the Russian Railways Medicine on collaborative scientific research and the delivery of CPD programmes;

with the Igronik Group on collaboration in the field of education and intellectually intensive practices aimed at enhancing professional skills.

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