Russia Lags Badly in ICT Dynamics
As Sochi Olympics Open, We Take a Look at the Bear
By: Roger Strukhoff
Feb. 8, 2014 11:31 AM
With the Sochi Winter Olympics opening, it seems a good time to take a look at how Russia does in our research. There is some good news, although the country could certainly do much better.
No serious discussion of Russia today is possible without mention of country President Vladimir Putin. Indeed, this strongman is clearly on a personal mission to go into the history books alongside Peter the Great and Lenin as his country's most influential leaders.
Putin's influence is such that he's considered to be the most powerful person in the world by Time magazine, among other sources. His control over Russia's politics, media, culture, and business seems to be absolute.
In our overall rankings, Russia lags not only globally, but more important, in comparison to many of its neighbors. Russia finishes 80th in our overall rankings, and dead last among the 33 European countries we survey. It badly trails all of the former Soviet satellite states. Within its income tier (countries with per-person incomes between $13,000 and $30,000), Russia finishes 15th among 17 nations we survey, leading only Saudi Arabia and Oman.
Hope Spring Eternal
Putin has reputedly authorized more than $50 billion to be spent on the Sochi Olympics, an absurd amount that is more than six times the amount spent by Vancouver to hold a perfectly beautiful Olympics in 2010.
The $50 billion is equal to 2.5% of the country's GDP - this is comparable to spending $400 billion in the US. This amount is also enough to build new power plants for about two-thirds of Russia's population, or an entire year's worth of all the new datacenters in the world.
For Russia right now, it's not a pretty picture. Although I stay quite busy, I will take Vladimir Putin's call if he tries to ring me. I doubt he will, as he seems not to listen to many people.
However, I do encourage him to look at his country's resources and people, and ease up a bit on his totalitarian tendencies. Investors would be happy to get excited about Russia again - as they did in 1991 - and work to improve a promising technology infrastructure that will only improve the lives of the country's people if developed more robustly.
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