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Russia: Turning oil into nanotechnology

Alexander Zaitchik writes at Wired.com a piece titled Russia Pours Billions in Oil Profits Into Nanotech Race. I’m quoted:

“There’s a lot of technical talent in Russia, but not all of the funds allocated to nanotech will be deployed effectively,” said Christine Peterson, a vice president at the Foresight Nanotech Institute, in an e-mail interview. “The lack of commercialization infrastructure will also be a serious handicap. Success will depend on convincing joint-venture partners from outside Russia that it is financially safe to participate.”

This is a mild way of saying what the author puts another way:

There’s also the question of where all of Rosnanotekh’s billions will end up. Transparency International routinely rates Russia among the most corrupt countries in the world, and state enterprises are dominated by Kremlin insiders with little public accountability and oversight. Rosnanotekh will likely be no exception.

An estimate given when I visited Moscow was that half the money would be diverted away from nanotech. Not just spent inefficiently: completely diverted away. —Christine

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