Italy interested in Russian technologies

This year, the International Innovation Agency in the Privolzhsky Federal District (IIA PFD) has launched a program to promote partnerships between regions of the PFD in Russia and Italy. Ilya Volodko, Representative of IIA PFD in Europe, answers the questions of

VV: As I understand it, when we are talking about cooperation, we mean cooperation in the innovative sector?
Volodko: Yes, exactly.

VV: Mr. Volodko, you communicate a lot with Italian businessmen. As for you, is there any interest in Russian technologies in general from Italian businesses and investors?
Volodko: First of all, we should not forget that our success in discovering space and the development of nuclear technologies have not been forgotten by the West. Russian science researchers and specialists have confirmed opportunities of establishing competitive new technologies and products in the world’s market. And certainly, Italian businesses can imagine that there are technologies in Russia, but what exactly are they? It’s difficult to clarify this by themselves. From my point of view, it may be due to very small representation of Russian technologies to Italian businesses and investors. This particular issue is being resolved by the International Innovation Agency in Europe.

VV: Are there any Italian companies that are ready to collaborate on innovation?
Volodko: The major part of trade relations between Russia and Italy nowadays is natural resources trading, which is operated by big state corporations. As for me, when we are talking about innovations, it is cooperation between small and medium enterprises. Small and medium companies dominate in Italian business and share 70% of the Italian economy. Therefore, it’s very important to take this fact in mind when developing cooperation in innovations.

VV: Which Russian technologies could be interesting to the Italian market?
Volodko: In the modern economy and in terms of globalization it’s very important to develop cooperation in sectors that directly determine the vector of the world economy. Leadership in these sectors allows the country or a union of countries to be leaders in international competition, as well as maintain this leadership status in the future. Among these sectors are researching space, nuclear industry, IT sector, etc.

VV: What are some examples of successful running investment projects?
Volodko: In the stage of realizing nowadays there are some investment projects in energy, the nuclear industry (new types of the reactors), aviation, and others.

VV: Do the Italian innovators have an interest to Russian market?
Volodko: No doubt, yes. This is a huge market with a very high level of demand. It’s important to highlight that this interest has a strategic perspective. All the leaders of the world economy are strongly interested in Russian market.

VV: What is the general opinion about Russia in Italy? What do they think about the investment climate here in Russia?
Volodko: Historically our countries are very similar to each other in terms of mentality and spirit. The Italian opinion of Russia should be divided into the business side and the general public. From the general point of view, Russia seems to be a vast, cold country with unlimited natural resources. Among the Italian citizens there exists the very famous term “Siberia”, which means a territory where Italians do not have the capability to survive. On the other hand, from the business point of view, Russia is considered a likely prospect for Italian capital and entrepreneurs. All of business society gives much attention and interest to international cooperation with Russia. Legal guaranties and investment climate are two main factors that small and medium Italian businesses keep in mind when arriving at a decision to invest and sign contracts with Russian partners. There is little information about Russian partners with a good reputation, or about legal and other conditions of the Russian market.

VV: In contrast, are there any special conditions or characteristics of Italian business which are known to Russian entrepreneurs?
Volodko: The Italian special characteristic is the patriotism and honor to the definition “Made in Italy”. In each region, in addition to similar national feelings, there is a sense of patriotism. Regions have their own special characteristics. This fact is very important to know and keep in mind in order to achieve the excellent results of international cooperation with Italy at the regional and national level. As for my point of view, cooperation at the regional level accompanied with presenting information requested will lead to successful collaboration between our countries.

Interviewed by Alexander Blagov