Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Russia is a “distinct civilization” in an interview that aired on May 17th.
Despite the interview being aired just now, it took place back in September 2019, however it is still quite adequate.
Putin told state television that “it would be impossible to secure the future of our civilization” without artificial intelligence, genetics and unmanned vehicles, as well as hypersonic weapons.
“Russia is not just a country, it’s really a separate civilization. If we want to preserve this civilization, we should focus on high-level technology and its future development,” Putin said.
“These new technologies have appeared and they will change the world, they’re already changing it,” he added.
Russia should watch other countries’ innovations, Putin said, “but never forget that we have a solid base of our own.”
“Without basic science, research schools and engineers, we would never have had the modern types of high-tech weapons that no other country in the world has, at least as of yet.”
The interview was published two days after Putin chaired a meeting on developing genetic technology in Russia.
Taking part in the meeting were Deputy Prime Minister Tatyana Golikova, Presidential Aide Andrei Fursenko, Minister of Science and Higher Education Valery Falkov, Director of Kurchatov Institute National Research Centre Alexander Blagov, Director of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Engelhardt Institute of Molecular Biology Alexander Makarov, Director General of Vektor State Research Centre of Virology and Biotechnology Rinat Maksyutov, Director General of Biocad biotechnology company Dmitry Morozov, and Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin.
The meeting was organized to review progress on the project that was launched in April 2019.
“To begin this discussion, I would like to note that it took us several years of consistent efforts before we could launch this complex, large-scale project. We reinforced the existing research schools and created new ones, including with input from our compatriots at leading research centres and universities. It is important that more and more young, promising scientists work on genetic research. We dedicated significant resources to developing this sphere and to life science in general, including human resources, as well as financial and institutional assets.”
Under the project three world-scale genome centers are being established.
Rosneft is the Russian state’s main technological partner.
In that direction, Rosneft chief Igor Sechin asked Putin to exempt investments into genetic technology from taxes.
“This decision would encourage greater support for investment in the Russian genetics industry,” Igor Sechin told Putin.
During the videoconference, Putin compared Russia’s genetic technology program to “nuclear and space exploration projects of the 20th century.”
Putin decreed in 2019 that all Russians are to be assigned “genetic passports” by 2025 under the national chemical and biological security strategy.
Scientists said at the time that these “genetic passports” could refer to either genetic markers used to identify individuals or a detailed list of individual health risks and traits.
This is necessary, as Putin outlined at the May 15th meeting because it would assist in improving people’s lives and ensuring a cleaner environment and countering diseases.
“I believe that Russia must have an entire range of studies on the prevention and treatment of serious diseases, increasing life expectancy, improving the environment, cleaning our soil, water and air, as well as using biofuels. In other words, we are talking about a whole range of sectors, from medicine and agriculture to manufacturing and energy, where genetic technologies offer colossal opportunities.”
He concluded that genetic technology was promising, but however it needs to be properly supervised.
“There is another important matter. We all understand the power of genetic technology. For this reason, we need to build a system for supervising its use. Working together with those involved in the programme, we need to balance the freedom of research, technological development and interests of the people with the imperative to protect their interests and comply with ethical norms. I am asking you to proceed from this premise.”
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