The federal project “Digital Zone” in Russia has been postponed until the fall, with uncertain prospects

The approval of the federal project “New Zone” has been delayed until the autumn due to the need to revise it to account for different regions’ digitalization strategies. The government is yet to reach a consensus on the project’s existence, which is expected to cost 137 billion rubles over the next five years. They propose abandoning it entirely at the Ministry of Digital Science.

Prospects are hazy:

The Russian government has agreed to put the federal initiative “Digital Zone” on hold until the third quarter of 2021. This was reported by Kommersant, citing Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Chernyshenko’s remarks.

On September 1st, changes to the federal project must be planned. The project will be greatly changed and based on the digitalization policy of core sectors of the economy and social sphere of the regions, according to the publication’s interlocutor.

Currently, the digitalization of regions is being carried out concurrently through multiple programs of the Modern Economy national program, necessitating the removal of a variety of redundant events from the Digital Zone, as explained by Chernyshenko’s office. Simultaneously, new tasks will be applied to the programme, and adjustments will be made to account for the depth of “digital technology penetration in each issue.”

In total, the project’s future fate remains unknown. As a result, according to a government source quoted by Kommersant, the new edition of the Digital Region could prove to be “inapplicable” for regional authorities. According to the publication, the Ministry of Digital Science proposes to fully abandon the initiative and has already submitted a response to the Government’s Department of Information Technologies. The Ministry of Digital Science and Rostelecom, the Digital Region’s center of competence, have made no comment on this material.

According to Kommersant, the Digital Region’s current needs, both budgetary and extrabudgetary outlets, are forecast at 137.3 billion rubles until 2024. Once the President’s Strategic Planning Council has given its approval, the project’s final budget is supposed to be approved.