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The Russia Studies Program
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The Artificial Intelligence in Russia newsletter features a summary of recent Russian-language reports on the Russian AI and autonomy ecosystem, divided into the following sections:

  • Governance and Legal Developments
  • Military and Security Developments
  • Corporate and Market Developments
  • Education and Training Developments
  • International Collaboration
  • Spotlight: Kronshtadt Design Bureau Offers Swarm and Combat Drone Capabilities
  • In Brief: Sber Releases AI Principles

The following preview shows the first item in this issue:

1. AI federal project head discusses implementation, notes AI ambitions 

In February 2021, Deputy Minister of Economic Development Oksana Tarasenko, head of the AI Federal Project, spoke to C-News about Russian AI development thus far and further development for the near future. She said that Russia is starting on a path to widespread use of AI technology and, by 2030, the country plans to move to pervasive use of AI for solving a range of problems. She cited a number of Russian strengths in this regard, including a fairly well developed infrastructure for accessing broadband internet, the presence of strong players in the IT field, a high level of basic physics and math education, and dynamic conversion of public services into electronic form. 

Tarasenko listed the US and China as the world leaders in AI, stating that the size of their markets makes it possible to create and develop globally competitive projects. She then said that Russia seeks to take its place in the leader cohort next to countries such as Germany, England, France, and Canada. She also said that Russia is successfully competing with Chinese, American, and Asian megacities in terms of AI use in the everyday  life of those residing in cities. 

The deputy minister also spoke about delays in the implementation of the AI Federal Project until 2021, after the government signed the National Strategy in 2019. She cited COVID as the primary reason for the lag, because the process of seeking funding slowed down amidst shifting priorities. However, Tarasenko said, COVID also gave a powerful impetus to technological development and AI turned out to be the most in-demand technology. She said that Russians began to trust the technology more, and that, while government funding for AI development did decrease, private funding grew. Because the Federal Project is now in its first year of implementation, Tarasenko said, the implementers are currently searching for best solutions and creating incentives, including in the business, science, and education spheres. 

In addition, the deputy minister discussed the implementation of regulations in this space, stating that the past year was incredibly fruitful for creating the necessary regulatory framework, given the adoption of a number of documents and measures, including the launch of an experimental AI legal regime in Moscow. The government is working on the formulation of an action plan for adopting both federal laws and government acts to remove barriers to the introduction of AI technologies. Plans for 2021 include the development of general regulations, as well as regulations in the areas of healthcare and transport. Tarasenko also stated that the Russian government believes regulation should not prevent the emergence of new uses for AI. She said, “You cannot draw some ‘red lines’ if the danger of using AI has not been proven. If there are concerns, appropriate research should be carried out. If in the course of it the risk of using AI is confirmed, then and only then can it be prohibited or limited.”

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DISTRIBUTION STATEMENT A. Approved for public release: distribution unlimited. Cleared for public release


  • Pages: 38
  • Document Number: DOP-2021-U-029392-Final
  • Publication Date: 3/12/2021