These Boots Were Made for 22 M.P.H.

Saturday, March 17th, 2007

These Boots Were Made for 22 M.P.H. looks at a zany Russian invention that never made money — gasoline-powered piston boots — and the difficulties the Russian economy faces:

And, in contrast to the United States, venture capital firms and start-up companies in Russia have not congregated near technology universities. Russian computer programmers, successful in Silicon Valley, are best known at home for hacking.

“Venture capital firms are starting to work here, but as a rule, if something comes to their attention it is an exception,” said Igor R. Belousov, a Hewlett-Packard executive who coordinates the company’s research at Russian universities.

Meanwhile, natural resources account for 80 percent of Russia’s export revenue; crude oil and natural gas alone account for 65 percent.

To encourage foreign companies to invest in cities rich in scientific talent, Mr. Gref’s ministry is setting up technology parks with tax breaks in St. Petersburg, Moscow, Nizhny Novgorod and Novosibirsk.

(Emphasis mine.)

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