A socially oriented non-financial development institution and a major organizer of international conventions, congress, exhibitions, business, social and sporting, public, and cultural events.

The Roscongress Foundation is a socially oriented non-financial development institution and a major organizer of international conventions; exhibitions; and business, public, sporting, and cultural events. It was established in pursuance of a decision by the President of the Russian Federation.

The Foundation was established in 2007 with the aim of facilitating the development of Russia’s economic potential, promoting its national interests, and strengthening the country’s image. One of the roles of the Foundation is to comprehensively evaluate, analyse, and cover issues on the Russian and global economic agendas. It also offers administrative services, provides promotional support for business projects and attracting investment, and helps foster social entrepreneurship and charitable initiatives.

Each year, the Foundation’s events draw participants from 208 countries and territories, with more than 15,000 media representatives working on-site at Roscongress’ various venues. The Foundation benefits from analytical and professional expertise provided by 5000 people working in Russia and abroad. In addition, it works in close cooperation with 160 economic partners; industrialists’ and entrepreneurs’ unions; and financial, trade, and business associations from 75 countries worldwide.

The Roscongress Foundation has Telegram channels in Russian (t.me/Roscongress), English (t.me/RoscongressDirect), and Spanish (t.me/RoscongressEsp). Official website and Information and Analytical System of the Roscongress Foundation: roscongress.org.

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Digital Sovereignty and Cybersecurity
4 June 2021
Progress on cybersecurity is lagging behind the pace of digitalization

We are currently experiencing a disparity between growing demand for digital services and digital platforms on the one hand, and for security on the other. The latter is not developing at the same rapid pace as the former. As a result, this disparity is growing, and I believe we are now very much at a critical juncture. We need to apply some kind of super-solution to markedly mobilize and change approaches to ensuring security at all stages, — Maksut Shadaev, Minister of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media of the Russian Federation.

Today, many companies in Russia are building their own ecosystems. They are developing them, as they provide new opportunities to attain new heights, achieve unique results, and come up with new products and services in a relatively short space of time. This form of agility is attracting all players, as various startups can benefit from rapid results. However, this is accompanied by a new level of risk. It is here that the biggest shadow areas lurk, it seems to me. <…> That is why companies that develop ecosystems naturally invariably prioritize reliability when it comes to all their security infrastructure rules and mechanisms, — Stanislav Kuznetsov, Deputy Chairman of the Board, PAO Sberbank.

In 2020, people in Russia consumed more media content online than via traditional outlets for the first time ever. <…> When it comes to the internet, security in this case is in all likelihood a crucial, and indeed, priority issue. Sadly, we are of course referring to the fact that <…> the amount of dishonest information online has also grown, as has the number of cyberattacks. And undoubtedly, illicit, and in some cases, forbidden content has become more widespread. These all pose fairly substantial challenges to us, to the state, to large companies, to the tech giants, and to social media – both in terms of the need to regulate the online space, and naturally, in terms of the tech giants regulating themselves and operating in a socially responsible manner, — Tatyana Matveeva, Chief, Presidential Directorate for the Development of Information and Communication Technology and Communication Infrastructure.

The realities of the world have changed, and there is definitely no going back to how things were before. That is why we need to think about technological independence. In fact, we need to do more than just think, and take real action in this area, — Evgeny Charkin, Deputy Managing Director, Russian Railways.

Cybersecurity needs to be taken up by organizations and government at the highest level

We believe it crucial that senior figures understand all the risks. Work needs to be done separately to explain and clarify these risks, and ensure that senior figures in our organizations shoulder the responsibility. I am referring primarily to my sector – government bodies and state companies. They need to understand that these factors are KPIs, and that they assume personal responsibility for ensuring that cybersecurity risks do not come to pass, — Maksut Shadaev, Minister of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media of the Russian Federation.

In terms of regulation, I would like to make an observation. Not long ago, surveys everywhere indicated that society considered regulation of the internet to be unnecessary, believing it to be a restrictive measure. Now, according to the Russian Public Opinion Research Centre, around 50% of people realize and generally understand that regulation of the internet is needed. They also view this regulation as a fairly positive thing. <…> We wanted to set out some rules to balance the interests of society, business, the state, individuals, and national security, — Tatyana Matveeva, Chief, Presidential Directorate for the Development of Information and Communication Technology and Communication Infrastructure.

It may appear that ensuring security is a technical undertaking of sorts. That is not the case. It is invariably an undertaking which needs to be driven by senior management, whether at a government body, or company. And of course, it needs to be supported by a package of measures, — Igor Lyapunov, Vice President for Information Security, Rostelecom.

An outflow of personnel

If we speak about major objectives in the field of tech solutions, then we need people – heads and hands – that can do the job. There are many such people, as it happens. As a country, we’re not in the worst situation, as we’re one of only a few countries that can even begin to talk about the potential to implement such projects. We’re much better off than many others, but it’s still not enough. We’ve got an education system, and a good one at that, but it needs to be expanded and rolled out further, because we are in real need of heads, — Eugene Kaspersky, Chief Executive Officer, Kaspersky Lab.

The issue of personnel is worrying, the issue of programmers is worrying, and the issue of people continuing to leave is worrying. This is also a matter of national sovereignty, including with regard to technology, and with regard to cybersecurity. It is one of the big problems we face, — Stanislav Kuznetsov, Deputy Chairman of the Board, PAO Sberbank.

We need to think about personnel, and not only in cybersecurity, but the digital sector overall. Today’s market is incredibly competitive, and everyone is faced with monumental tasks, — Evgeny Charkin, Deputy Managing Director, Russian Railways.

The state can build all the new universities and places to promote IT that it likes, but without what’s known in business as a call to action, without a dream, without some great idea compelling people to pursue it, all you’ll have is a simple scaling-up. I think that to a large degree, we should be looking at the government doing something to support this idea, in the way that space exploration was supported in the past, or in the way physics was in the 1960s. There needs to be a dream which can be sold around the world by an Elon Musk-type figure. <…> We need similar, exciting projects and dreams. <…> In essence, a cult of sorts needs to be built around IT, one which is both popular and accessible, — Alexey Goreslavsky, General Director, Dialog ANO.

A lack of companies in Russia working to ensure cybersecurity on an ongoing basis

It’s clear that we need to change the overall approach. As I see it, we need to create a new industry which must start offering uninterrupted security services. This is how the industry currently looks to me: we have integrators and we have solution providers, but we do not have organizations dealing with these risks on an ongoing basis,” Maksut Shadaev, Minister of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media of the Russian Federation. “Not one of these sectors currently has a centre or a body taking responsibility for <...> security. Initiatives are currently in place – which we support and participate in – to create such centres, which will operate in each sector and coordinate reactions within critical IT infrastructure and ensure protection from attacks, — Igor Lyapunov, Vice President for Information Security, Rostelecom.

Replacing imports with domestic alternatives

In our area in particular, import substitution in the field of mobile telecommunications should not lead to a situation whereby instead of building an ecosystem, we create a cocoon and retreat into it. Similarly, producers which will feel complacent from not having any competition should not lead us into a situation where we once again lag behind in terms of technology and the like. I hope that government bodies are very careful when approaching this issue, — Rashid Ismailov, President, VimpelCom.

I think that today we all need to not just reflect on the term ‘import substitution’ – which to a degree carries different connotations – but actually develop products ourselves, and not be afraid. We embarked on this path four years ago. Over these four years, we have created at least five cybersecurity platforms which probably cover around 80% of Sberbank’s cybersecurity tech solutions, — Stanislav Kuznetsov, Deputy Chairman of the Board, PAO Sberbank.

State corporations have been focusing intently on what was initially called ‘import substitution’ for a good number of years now. Now it’s being called ‘moving towards technological independence’, and some practice has already been accumulated in this area. For one thing, it has already become clear that the issue is far more all-encompassing and complex than it appeared a few years ago. <...> Technological independence <...> does not just mean using products which exist independently from the world, but also ensuring that the product in question is genuinely world class, — Ekaterina Solntseva, Chief Digital Officer, State Atomic Energy Corporation ROSATOM.

It’s not about replacing products, but replacing them with something more competitive. In order to achieve this, large companies need to work together, and the state should also be involved. That’s because in order to foster the sector, the market needs to be fostered in various ways, — Evgeny Charkin, Deputy Managing Director, Russian Railways.

Building ecosystems

Currently, Russia’s government administration system largely revolves around the approach of having each federal government body being responsible for their department’s security. However, we have actually become, if not a government-administration ecosystem, then an infrastructure which is bound up in IT. Each federal government body and each system is an element of a whole, and of course, whatever level of security currently exists, it is a long way off from being sufficient. <…> Ecosystems need to be protected by ecosystems, — Igor Lyapunov, Vice President for Information Security, Rostelecom.

We have spoken about ecosystems and understand that as a rule, they are very rapidly built vertically, coalescing around a single motherboard. Together with our colleagues from Rostelecom, we have questioned whether we could build horizontal ecosystems in various sectors with some kind of unifying elements, such as data. This would be with the view to increasing value and increasing the profits of various industry-specific companies, while still having some form of unified whole. We very well understand that the process of coordination and agreement is a very complex and long one. However, it seems to me that tools provided by the state could be employed to make it easier to reach all these agreements, — Stanislav Kuznetsov, Deputy Chairman of the Board, PAO Sberbank.