Russia has made strides in creating the infrastructure needed for an innovations-based economy, Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on Friday at a meeting of the economic modernization commission presidium at the Skolkovo Hypercube.

Medvedev was chairing the final meeting of 2014 of the commission, whose task is to make the country less vulnerable to foreign economic factors by developing domestic business and entrepreneurship.

“Over a fairly limited period of time we’ve managed to create an entire base infrastructure of support [for an innovations economy],” Medvedev said in opening remarks.

“We’re sitting here at Skolkovo: Just a few years ago there were empty fields here. Today more than 1,000 startups work here and soon we’ll have Skoltech, a world-class educational center,” he added.

 

Besides Skolkovo, many innovation clusters have “risen to their feet” despite the current economic squeeze, Medvedev added.

Deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich noted that progress in creating the innovation-friendly ecosystem was a little more sluggish than desired due to a failure to attract more businesses into the process and fewer patents registered for new technology than expected.

Advances have been made, however, in raising awareness among the public, government and business of the importance of innovating, and in realizing innovation projects within government organs, Dvorkovich said.

Also attending the meeting were presidential aide Andrei Belousov, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov, Energy Minister Alexander Novak and Vladimir Dmitriev, the head of Vnesheconombank.

The commission has met roughly once a month this year, Medvedev said. Friday’s meeting laid down the plans to develop the ecosystem further over the next two years.  

Medvedev created Skolkovo by presidential decree in 2010, and follows its progress keenly, making appearances at events such as the annual summer Startup Village. Earlier Friday he oversaw the addition of Panasonic as a key international partner of the Skolkovo Foundation.

Medvedev last week called Skolkovo “the standard bearer for creating a high-tech sector” in Russia.

Asked in a live television interview about the fate of a project he began as president in 2010, Medvedev noted: “All is fine. Skolkovo lives and is developing.”

Charged with providing the catalyst for the diversification of the Russian economy, the Skolkovo Foundation’s overarching goal is to create a sustainable ecosystem of entrepreneurship and innovation, engendering a startup culture and encouraging venture capitalism. 

Last month, Skolkovo’s flagship partners including Microsoft and Siemens reiterated their commitment to the project, insisting political turbulence would not blow them off course.

The presidential commission on modernizing the economy was established in May 2009 to coordinate the activity of federal agencies, executive power and local self-government bodies as well as businessmen and experts.