Thursday, June 3, 2010

Chatroulette and the Non-Existent Russian Technology Boom

Why the Russian teenager who created the worldwide internet phenomenon, Chatroulette, moved to the United States instead of staying in Russia.
Ternovskiy also has reason to be skeptical of the Kremlin’s recent interest in grooming intellectual talent, given the exodus of scientists from the country—by 2002, more than half a million had left—and the pitiful state of Russia’s intelligentsia since the fall of Communism. Andrey’s parents are exactly the kind of people Russia might be cultivating in its modernization drive, yet Vladimir makes only five hundred dollars a month and Elena three hundred. Official talk of modernization and innovation rankles Vladimir, who supplements his income with work for Russian Souvenirs. “It’s demagoguery,” he says. Recently, he sent a project proposal to Rusnano: no response. “These projects don’t interest them. The Internet doesn’t interest them. If I proposed something else, like cutting down some forest in the Far East, that would instantly interest them. There’s no support from the government. It’s completely absent. And Andrey knows that if he stays here no one will support him. The country doesn’t need people like him.”


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