What did Medvedev discuss with executives from Yandex and Mail.Ru Group

In the MRG, they offered to make their platform for schoolchildren and deduct VAT in the production of games, and in Yandex they help them to return valuable personnel to Russia.

Meeting with Medvedev in Mail.Ru Group

On March 29, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev held a meeting with the heads of the largest Russian IT companies in the Mail.Ru Group office. This is the first visit of the Premier to the Mail.Ru Group office and his first meeting of this format.

In addition to the head of Mail.Ru Group Boris Dobrodeev, Dmitry Dobrodeyev, First Deputy Chairman Dmitry Sergeyev, Vladimir Gabrielyan, Vice-President of Mail.Ru Group, Andrei Rogozov, Managing Director of VKontakte, came to meet with Medvedev. The founder of “Yandex” Arkady Volozh was not: from his company came the general director of Yandex, Elena Bunin, the technical director of Yandex, Mikhail Parakhin, and the general director of Yandex.Taxi, Tigran Khudaverdyan.

In addition to the leaders of IT companies, two ministers from Medvedev’s office came to the Mail.Ru Group – his deputy, Maxim Akimov, and the head of the Ministry of Communications and Mass Communications, Konstantin Noskov. The guests of the Mail.Ru Group building were surrounded by fighters of the Rosguard, and FSO officers and dog handlers housed inside the building. Entrance to the tower, where the event takes place, is limited.

TJ followed their meeting and chose the main topics from the discussion in the form of retelling and quotations.

Introduction from Medvedev: squeeze the Internet

The prime minister began with the history of the Internet – in the 25 years that the .ru-segment appeared, much has changed.

Runet used to be very small. The Internet was tied to well-known sources, the search and all the resources were the same, and the Russian-language segment appeared in 1994 and was an insignificant addition to the rapidly developing network. Over the past 25 years, everything has changed a lot: a whole generation of people has grown up for whom computer, the Internet and free access to all services are routine and an integral part of everyday life.

Dmitry Medvedev Prime Minister of the Russian Federation

Now there are different services on the Internet, Medvedev noted – educational, informational, financial, government and commercial. This brings money – both to companies and the country’s economy, and they need to be squeezed to the maximum, the prime minister said .

The economy of the Runet, according to analysts, is growing to 15% per year, which, as you all understand, is significantly higher than the growth of our economy as a whole, where we fight for every percent and believe that 3% [growth] is already very OK. Last year there was a 2.5% growth, not quite bad, but here it is 15%. Of course, we must, as they say, squeeze out of it – you, well, and the state, in the end, too – everything possible.

Dmitry Medvedev Prime Minister of the Russian Federation

Medvedev announced that the state is going to invest about 2 trillion rubles in the development of the digital economy, which is 2% of Russia’s GDP. “On the one hand, it is very much, on the other hand, it is not enough, because in order not to lag behind anyone, you need to invest more.”

Dmitry Medvedev

Medvedev: While we were walking around the Mail.Ru office, we spoke with colleagues that it is very important that our country has its own search engines and its own social media. This can boast a limited number of countries, including very technologically advanced. The state should preserve the benefits of this and help the business keep it all.

There are a number of questions that the state should do for the development of IT companies and runet, and that the state generally should not do. Government intervention is the most powerful weapon that can be applied to any business.

Dmitry Medvedev Prime Minister of the Russian Federation

Medvedev concluded his introduction with an explanation of organizational issues: “Today we have a public part, where you say something, and there is a non-public one, where you say everything you wanted to say, or what you wanted to know, but were afraid to ask.”

Mail.Ru Group proposed to make a platform for school online education and deduct VAT in the production of games

Gabrielyan: We do not have factories, machines, we have only people. We are extremely dependent on personnel, and in the market there is personnel shortage. We used to compete with each other, and now with the entire market. We differ from other countries in technology leadership, and the reason is that since the times of the USSR there was a good education in exact sciences.

The problem is that education develops. It is necessary to keep up with the development, otherwise tomorrow there will be no educational base. In the last 5 years, we have paid much attention to higher education, we have seven educational programs in the best universities of the country. Need to pay attention to schooling.

For its part, Mail.Ru Group is ready to develop a unified educational platform for schoolchildren and all the necessary technologies that will make schooling truly modern and digital.

Vladimir Gabrielyan Vice President and Technical Director, Mail.Ru Group

Vladimir Gabrielyan, Vice-President of Mail.Ru Group

Medvedev: And what exactly is needed from us?

Gabrielyan: Your support and implementation of the system throughout the country.

Medvedev: It is possible, and we will try to help colleagues. Butyou need the product itself, apparently, once you say it is, or you are ready to offer it. Must be prepared Wednesday. I remember how 12 years ago I was engaged in the introduction of the Internet to schools. The teachers were not morally ready – they were in a situation where it was harder for him to plunge into something than a child. The sooner this [product introduction] occurs, the better.


Dobrodeev: A question on expansion. One industry in runet that actually does it successfully is the gaming industry. It’s about Mail.Ru Group and about other companies, but Mail.Ru Group has 60% of gaming revenue from abroad – in annual terms it is $ 230 million. This is the most successful entertainment product we have ever exported.

But there is a problem with the industry. Under the current tax code, we cannot deduct incoming VAT, unlike competitors from other markets.

If you control a game from Russia, then you pay 20% more for marketing, for buying traffic. This makes our jurisdiction uncompetitive, a huge number of studios go to other jurisdictions, both de jure and de facto.

Boris Dobrodeev CEO Mail.Ru Group

Dobrodeev: Skolkovo developed the VAT refund initiative, and it is very important. She is now in governmentwe asked for help – what’s important is what is created, not only to multiply, but not to lose.

Boris Dobrodeev, general director of Mail.Ru Group

Medvedev: I agree. At what stage is it? I think it is not very difficult.

Akimov: Legislative decision is ready. There we are talking not only about the gaming industry, in general, in general about the VAT refund, because the business is cross-border. We give the order.

Medvedev: I understand that the Ministry of Finance has concerns. It is possible on the basis of the meeting and the assignment to give, but the main thing is not in the assignment. You talk with colleagues from the Ministry of Finance.If it is not possible to reach a consensus, and it is quite likely, come to me to finally decide.

“Yandex” said that he was the first to search. Medvedev said filmmakers complained about Yandex

Bunin: When we started Yandex, we perceived ourselves as a search engine on the Internet. Five years ago we realized that we were an offline player as well – we became a big concern, Taxi and Drive appeared. It is easier for such services to enter foreign markets. I want to talk about the search, in which there are voice assistants, and about unmanned vehicles.

Elena Bunina, General Director of Yandex

Medvedev: I rode your unmanned vehicle. Took the risk. Here, I’m sitting alive.

Parahin: The search is being transformed. We love to boast that the first search grew out of the search of 1989, when Arkady Volozh and his colleagues did a search on the basis of patents. The first product for users appeared in 1997, a year before Google, and then there were competitors, for example, AltaVista.

Medvedev: You reminded me, yes. Of course, there was such an AltaVista.

Parakhin: But Yandex was notable for its quality – understood Russian and morphology.

Medvedev: Yandex was the main one, of course.

Parahin: Now Google talks about machine learning, but they came to this much later. We have “Music”, other media services.

Medvedev: One of the most important achievements of Runet is that they have moved from piracy to civilized use. Not at all, really.I recently met with filmmakers, they complained about you.


Parahin: Now there are actually two companies all over the world that are fighting for voice assistants – Amazon and Google. We are investing heavily in order not to miss this moment, this is such an important experience – voice control.

Mikhail Parakhin, Technical Director, Yandex

Medvedev: In many things, we all give in to our children, because for them it is an organic part of life. Are you probably typing [on the keyboard]? (bangs his fingers on the table)

Parakhin: I basically type, yes, but my children already talk to [helpers], buttons are no longer needed for them.

Medvedev: This is a matter of habit, but it is really important.


Bunin: I still have a question on personnel, including those whom we return from abroad. There are a lot of such people left, over the past 3 years we have returned more than 120 people – these are all highly qualified personnel. We thought -maybe it is worth running some kind of joint program, business and government, on the return of these personnel, tax simplification for such high-class professionals, something to develop?

Medvedev: There is such an agenda, and there are programs. But these are always individual stories. There is an opinion that all young people are leaving – this, of course, is a lie. With something you can fight, but with something very difficult.

We understand that young people want to see the world, and if this is also accompanied by a good cash refund, then it is difficult to stop. But you have to return, you are right. […] Anyway, objectively, after a few years, a person wants to return home, because he is used to living in Russia. This is not only a salary, it is a complicated story.Dmitry Medvedev Prime Minister of the Russian Federation

Dmitry Medvedev

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