DIFFICULTIES OF TRANSITION

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THE STATE COUNCIL DISCUSSED DEVELOPMENT OF INFORMATION TECHNOLOGIES AND NATIONAL PAYMENT SYSTEM

The State Council discussed IT and national payment system.


The State Council meeting chaired by President Dmitry Medvedev discussed IT development in Russia. An emphasis was made on IT in state administration.

“Transition to electronic services is a must. This transition was quite brief in lots of foreign countries but all these countries are small. Russia is a vast country and I do not therefore expect this transition to take only a year or so. Still, I believe that doing it over the period of 5-6 years is a distinct possibility,” Medvedev said.

The State Council also discussed the idea of a nationwide payment system. As a matter of fact, the powers-that-be have pondered establishment of a Russian analog of Visa or Mastercard for years. It seems that things are progressing towards a logical conclusion now. Medvedev suggested that social cards were issued to all Russians on the basis of the nationwide payment system.

Vladimir Dmitriyev of Vneshekonombank offered this structure as the platform. “We know after all that it is not supposed to be a private bank or any commercial institution unless we want principles of competition violated. A structure established by the government, Vneshekonombank is prepared to become the platform to develop the processing structure and database on,” he said.

Medvedev wanted to know how much time Vneshekonombank thought it would take. Dmitriyev replied that a year should suffice.

It was then that Deputy Premier and Finance Minister Aleksei Kudrin stepped in. “Dmitriyev here has made a questionable and conceptually wrong statement,” he said. Kudrin admitted that he was surprised to hear Vneshekonombank’s offer. The Finance Ministry, Economic Development Ministry, and financial circles were working on the draft law together but this was the first time Kudrin said that he heard the idea of making Vneshekonombank the platform of the future payment system.

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