Dmitry Chernyshenko: ‘Tatarstan’s digital maturity is 95% — this is one of the best indicators in the country’

Internet, microelectronics and OSes: what was discussed at the final board meeting of the Ministry of Finance of Tatarstan

Dmitry Chernyshenko: ‘Tatarstan’s digital maturity is 95% — this is one of the best indicators in the country’
Photo: Platonov

“Tatarstan, under the strict leadership of Rustam Minnikhanov, has been taking a leading position in the digital transformation rating for several years," said Dmitry Chernyshenko, the deputy prime minister of Russia, who opened the board meeting of the Regional Ministry of Finance at the end of 2023, which took place in the Bashir Rameev Kazan IT Park. At the same time, the event discussed not only the results of last year's work, but also plans for the future. For example, the digitalisation of the region will soon be tested by events such as the Games of the Future and the BRICS summit. Read the details in the material of Realnoe Vremya.

“Tatarstan ranks first in terms of the number of Internet users in the Volga Federal District”

Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Chernyshenko was due to visit Kazan personally on 19 January, where he had a number of events planned. However, weather conditions disrupted his visit and he had to take part in the board meeting of the Ministry of Digital Development, Public Administration, Information Technology and Communications of Tatarstan via videoconferencing. Besides him, the event was attended by Rais of the Republic of Tatarstan Rustam Minnikhanov, Deputy Prime Minister — Chief of Staff of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Tatarstan Shamil Gafarov, Deputy Minister of Digital Development of Russia Alexander Shoitov, Director General of the Russian Post Mikhail Volkov and others.

Chernyshenko welcomed the participants of the board, stating that Tatarstan has a high digital maturity. Moreover, today the republic is among the advanced regions actively developing technologies. Following him, Tatarstan Minister of Digital Development Ayrat Khairullin made a keynote speech on the results of digitalisation in 2023 and tasks for 2024:

“The positive dynamics of the growth of the IT industry's contribution to the GRP of Tatarstan remains, which is estimated to be 3% by the end of 2023. In conditions of import restrictions and sharply increased demand for IT, the volume of sales of domestic equipment and software within the country is increasing. The revenue forecast of the republican industry for the year is 177 billion rubles," Khairullin said at the very beginning of his speech. Platonov

Then the minister turned to the global network, stating that today the number of households connected to the wired Internet has increased by 71 thousand subscribers compared to last year — 1,297 new subscribers daily.

“Currently, 83% of households have wired access. Tatarstan ranks first in terms of the number of high-speed Internet users in the Volga Federal District. The most active Internet access infrastructure is being developed by the republican company Tattelecom, which built an optical communication network for households in 81 settlements in 2023, he said, noting that more than 8 million smartphones and tablets are connected to the Internet in mobile communication networks.

Speaking about mobile communications, Khairullin said that despite some concerns about the imposition of sanctions, operators provide high-quality services. They continued to install base stations in the republic, and the volume of investments, according to him, exceeded 2 billion rubles. In 2024, 1,175 new base stations are expected to appear in the region (for comparison, 984 stations were installed and upgraded in 2023). In total, 98 settlements of the republic received mobile communications last year, and this year their number is expected to increase by another 87 settlements. “Work continues along the M7 highway — 14 stations have been installed. The number of “white spots” is steadily decreasing. The launch of the M12 was significant. In total, 29 telecommunication poles will be installed along the highway, 13 have already been installed, the head of the Ministry of Digital Development stated. Platonov

“An international microelectronics center will be formed in Innopolis”

Airat Khairullin also spoke about the creation and development of projects in the field of microelectronics. According to him, its development requires large investments.

“ICL Group of companies has made a big step in this direction by launching one of Russia's largest surface mounting plant for motherboards. It is planned that an international backbone center for the production of microelectronics will be formed in the city of Innopolis. The project includes the construction of a factory with the production of 55 nanometer chips. It will cover the needs of the CIS countries and friendly countries, including the Islamic world," said the Minister of Digital Development.

The programme for the development of advanced engineering schools has become particularly important in Russia. Kazan Scientific Research Technical University will train specialists in the field of microelectronics. “Thanks to the activity of our universities last year, Tatarstan took second place in the overall ranking of scientific and technological development of the country's regions," Khairullin added.

At the same time, the head of the Ministry of Digital Development noted that in 2023, the practice of hearing and protecting industry digital projects of all ministries and departments appeared in the republic. “Over the past two years, the creation of new state infrastructure IT projects worth more than 6 billion rubles has been supported. These are the purchase of more than 45 thousand pieces of equipment, design, development and modernisation of information systems and much more," the minister stressed. Platonov

“All government jobs will be transferred to the Russian operating system”

The Minister of Digital Development of Tatarstan also discussed the issues of electronic systems in education and medicine. According to him, the republic actively cooperates with other regions of Russia in these areas. For example, an agreement was signed to update the Electronic Education of the Republic of Tatarstan by integrating the services of the Moscow Electronic School.

“There will be dozens of improvements in the service, but the main thing is that the paper routine of teachers will become a thing of the past, children and parents will receive a rich library with two million materials, and the parents' personal account will become more convenient. During the transition period, it is necessary to take all measures and resolve all technical issues with teachers and parents," he said, adding that 36 thousand new laptops were given to teachers in Tatarstan in 2023. Platonov

According to Ayrat Khairullin, in the healthcare industry, the Republican Clinical Hospital has started working in digital format according to the international HIMSS standard. “The implementation of this project has made it possible to reduce the decision-making time in the admission and diagnostic department three times in a year, increase the quality of medical care, thereby reduce hospital mortality and increase the number of people seeking medical help," the minister said, noting that the Ministry of Finance, together with the Ministry of Healthcare of the republic, set the task in 2024 to scale the project is aimed at large medical institutions of the republic.

“The first regional radiological data center has been created on the basis of the RCH. Artificial intelligence analyses mammography, tomography, X-rays and saves time on the description of the image up to 40%. This project was awarded the first national prize for its contribution to the development of artificial intelligence technologies. We do not forget about the security of residents' digital data. Information security is carefully monitored," Khairullin added. Platonov

The minister also recalled that Microsoft had stopped technical support and the release of updates in Russia. “In order to solve the security problem, all jobs in government agencies and budget institutions will be transferred to the Russian Astra Linux operating system in 2024 — there are 150,000 of them in total," Khairullin concluded.

Tatarstan student SOC creation project is planned to be scaled up and exported

Cybersecurity is one of the central topics in the modern development of digital technologies. In Tatarstan, the development of this area has traditionally been and remains strong. One of the projects implemented in the republic in this area was the project “Interuniversity SOC” (Security Operations Center — Information Security Monitoring Center). It is being developed by Innostage in cooperation with Moscow-based Positive Technologies and with the support of the Tatarstan authorities.

The pilot project was implemented in May 2023 on the basis of four Tatarstan universities, where there are specialized IT departments: at the KFU, KNRTU-KAI, KGEU, and Innopolis University. More than 130 students have been enrolled in the training programme. The company's specialists gave them a course of theoretical training and taught them incident response skills using real examples. Practice-oriented training: students protect the information system of their own universities from cyber attacks. Nina Shipkova, the head of the Innostage Cybersecurity Academy, says:

“During the summer admission campaign at universities, students have already worked in Information Security Monitoring Centers. The training took place on the basis of universities, we sent mentors from among our specialists to them. It is important that students work on real cyber attacks and gain experience. And our ultimate goal is to saturate the field of information security with good personnel. Platonov

The work takes place on a technology platform located inside the perimeter of the company. It includes a system for collecting and correlating information security events, and an incident response automation system. Students' tasks include monitoring incidents. The work takes place with the mandatory participation of university staff, and professional mentors coordinate this work remotely. They help to investigate complex incidents that the young people themselves cannot answer, and they constantly supervise all four universities.

Now it is planned to bring the “Interuniversity SOC” outside Tatarstan: in 2024, 16 more universities from different regions of Russia want to join four Tatarstan universities: for example, from the Amur Oblast, Nizhny Novgorod, Moscow, St. Petersburg.

“Our goal is to integrate this course into university curricula. So that such student centers are formed throughout the country, full-fledged “combat units” that will protect their universities from cyber attacks and develop their competencies in the process. Now we are working to get state support, and in the future we hope that the training of qualified specialists in the field of cybersecurity will get on a systemic track. We are ready to provide our methodology and act as visionaries, but for this the entire expert community must unite," the company's specialists say.

In the future, the project can also be exported abroad: negotiations are already underway to launch a “Student SOC” in the UAE and Saudi Arabia. Platonov

The operational system is a matter of national security

In turn, the rais of Tatarstan, Rustam Minnikhanov, said that in 2023 the number of hacker attacks on republican information systems increased significantly. During his speech, he noted that this year the region will host the most important event — the presidential elections of the country, as well as a number of major international events, including the BRICS meeting. “The task of the ministry is to ensure full information security and operation of video surveillance systems," he said.

“Tatarstan is one of the leading regions of digital transformation. The country's leadership has given us high confidence in holding the first Digital Games of the Future in the republic. Serious work has been organised in this area today: the federation of digital sports has been established, municipal and republican competitions are held, which we have visited today. This is a signal for us — how we need to strengthen our work on the development of digital sports," Minnikhanov said. Platonov

He also recalled that a large number of high-quality sports facilities have been built in Tatarstan and instructed the Ministry of Digital Development, together with the Ministry of Sports, to consider the possibility of equipping them to create digital centers in municipalities. “Next year, a nationwide championship should be held to maximise the involvement of the population, primarily young people, in this innovative sport," the head of the republic added.

Rustam Minnikhanov also noted that today citizens evaluate the work of government agencies not by the quality of services:

“Our task is to make public services as convenient as possible for the population. It is necessary to develop proactive provision of services for each life situation. Special attention should be paid to the participants of the special military operation and their family members. It is also necessary to continue work on reducing the time frame for the provision of public services. This year, it is necessary to reduce them by half compared to last year," he said. Platonov

At the same time, the rais of Tatarstan reported that back in 2022, the provision of services on an extraterritorial principle was introduced in the MFC. At the same time, according to him, services should be provided on time. “A number of districts systematically violate the established deadlines. I will name them — these are Nizhnekamsk, Laishevsky, Vysokogorsky, Tukayevsky, Yelabuga and Zelenodolsk districts. I would like to draw the attention of the heads of these districts! The Ministry of Digital Development, together with the Ministry of Economy, needs to keep the issue under constant control," the head of the region instructed.

Minnikhanov also named the authorities and municipal districts in which the Astra Linux system is not installed on computers, but foreign software is used. “This is the Committee of Tatarstan for the Protection of Cultural Heritage Sites, Alekseevsky, Yelabuga, Zelenodolsk, Buinsky and Kaibitsky districts," the rais said, noting that “Now this is a matter of national security.”

Maxim Kokunin

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