AI Policy – Russia

The following description of AI policy in Russia provides a snapshot summary of some previous and ongoing initiatives throughout the country. It is regularly updated as feasible, but it is not intended to be comprehensive. 

As of February 2020, there is also extensive information, data, and graphics about Russian AI policy available at the OECD AI Policy Observatory.

In October 2019, the Office of the President of the Russian Federation released a national AI strategy, Decree of the President of the Russian Federation on the Development of Artificial Intelligence in the Russian Federation. An English translation of the strategy is available here.

The strategy includes a long list of goals and primary objectives for the development of AI, including some to be achieved by the year 2024, and some by the year 2030. These goals include improving the availability and quality of data, increasing the availability of hardware, and creating appropriate standards and a regulatory system that guarantees public safety and stimulates the development of AI technologies. Mechanisms to implement the strategy include coordination of multistakeholder activities by the Government Commission on Digital Development and the Use of Information Technology to Improve the Quality of Life and the Conditions for Doing Business.

The strategy also lists principles for the development and use of artificial intelligence technologies, and states that their observance is obligatory during the implementation of the strategy. The principles include: the protection of human rights and liberties, security, transparency, technological sovereignty, innovation cycle integrity, reasonable thrift, and support for competition.

In January 2019, Russian President Vladimir Putin had approved a list of instructions following the meeting of the supervisory board of the Agency for Strategic Initiatives, which included the instruction to the Russian government to create a national AI strategy. A draft version of a national AI strategy, developed by the country’s largest bank – Sberbank, was announced September 2019.

Throughout 2018, several initiatives helped paved the way toward a national strategy. For example, in March 2018, The Russian Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Education and Science, and Academy of Sciences held a conference on AI problems and solutions, and later released a 10-point plan for AI development in Russia. The plan includes forming an AI and big data consortium across educational and industrial organizations; developing a fund to help provide expertise on automated systems; increasing state support of AI training and education; building an AI lab at a top technology university; establishing a national AI R&D center; monitoring technical and social trends in AI; organizing AI wargames; discussing AI proposals at domestic military forums; and holding an annual AI conference.

Russia has previously advocated for military uses of AI and been dismissive of ongoing deliberations at the United Nations to prohibit lethal autonomous weapon systems.

Russian President Vladimir Putin famously said during a speech to students in Moscow in September 2017, “Artificial intelligence is the future not only of Russia but of all of mankind. There are huge opportunities, but also threats that are difficult to foresee today. Whoever becomes the leader in this sphere will become the ruler of the world.” Putin added it would be better to prevent a monopoly in the field, and said that if Russia becomes the leader in the development of AI, “we will share our technology with the rest of the world, like we are doing now with atomic and nuclear technology.”

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