Medvedev takes state firms to task over innovation

31st January 2011, Comments 0 comments

President Dmitry Medvedev on Monday ordered Russian state conglomerates and other companies to increase their spending on research and development as he pressed ahead with his efforts to wean Russia's economy off oil and gas.

"Colleagues, this is no good," he said at a government meeting in the city of Arzamas in central Russia.

"I order the presidential administration and the government to prepare proposals on disciplinary responsibility up to dismissals of heads of large state companies for this work. You have two weeks," Medvedev said in televised remarks.

The Kremlin chief said that Russia's largest oil producer Rosneft, shipping giant Sovcomflot and flagship carrier Aeroflot were among the companies that are seriously lagging behind in terms of the time and funds spent on research and development.

State conglomerates flourished under Medvedev's predecessor at the Kremlin, current Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

By contrast, Medvedev has repeatedly criticised state companies for their inefficiency and bloated bureaucracy as he presses ahead with the construction of a high-tech hub near Moscow that would focus on developing nuclear energy, IT and telecoms.

Many critics however have ridiculed his idea, saying rampant corruption, bureaucracy and the lack of political freedoms will stifle creativity.

© 2011 AFP

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