Russia's Digital Sovereignty Attracted the Interest of Foreigners
The experience, the know-how and the products of the Russian Federation's IT industry, have already become the subject of close attention and a forum for developing cooperation with dozens of countries around the world.
St. Petersburg hosted a large-scale IT Dialogue-2022 forum dedicated to the development of the IT industry, digitalization and cyber security in Russia. The largest industry event was attended by 800 delegates from 40 Russian regions, as well as representatives from a number of friendly countries.
Russia's leading IT event is held in the Northern Capital for the ninth time, but this year's forum understandably attracted special attention, as one of the key topics of the meeting of industry experts was the issues of digital sovereignty and cybersecurity. (The IT Dialogue was attended by Abdullahi Shehu, Ambassador of Nigeria to Russia and Belarus, Abdulkarim Muhammad, Advisor to the Minister of Industry of Kuwait, as well as head of some major digital companies of Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, in addition to top officials of relevant Russian government agencies and corporations).
Despite the collective West's attempts to organise a full-scale international isolation of Russia, numerous representatives from Africa, the Middle East, and South-East Asia became guests of the 2022 IT Dialogue. In addition to the fact that representatives of diplomatic missions, trade missions, and Russian branches of foreign companies took part in expert panels, discussion panels, and plenary events, representatives of public and private IT companies from Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates and Nigeria showed special attention to the Russian digitalization and cybersecurity experience.
Although the prospects of developing the purely peaceful aspects of digitalization were very widely discussed at the forum, special attention of Russian and foreign participants was paid to issues of digital sovereignty and cybersecurity. Due to the extremely hostile policy of the US and its allies towards the country, both Russian state structures and private companies are facing unprecedented challenges in 2022. As one of the key speakers at the IT Dialogue forum noted Alexander Khinshtein (Member of the State Duma of the Russian Federation), after the start of Russia's Special Military Operation to protect Donbass, the number of cyberattacks on Russia's digital infrastructure increased by 80%. In addition, the Russian state, businesses and ordinary citizens have faced an enormous number of sanctions, restrictions and blockades by both traditional institutions of the collective West and digital companies and services.
The plenary session of the forum dedicated to the development of the domestic cyber security system highlighted the active cooperation of US IT corporations with US government and military agencies, which engage their private companies both to solve their own cyber defence tasks and to fight against their adversaries. Close cooperation between leading Western hardware, software, and IT-solutions developers in cyber-warfare is now at such a level, that those involved in this cooperation are not even concealing the nature of their cooperation. For example, in June this year a report by Microsoft President Brad Smith revealed many aspects of joint cyber warfare between the U.S. government and the corporation. In fact, with Microsoft's active participation, the U.S. has taken full control of the entire state IT-infrastructure in Ukraine and completely deprived the country of its digital sovereignty. In addition, the overseas intelligence services and military, together with private companies, used all the technological resources of the Kiev regime for cyber war against Russia. Foreign guests of the IT Dialogue forum, representing countries whose course of political and economic development does not always coincide with the hegemonic aspirations of the collective West, confirmed the concerns of the heads of Russian governmental structures and private companies about the threats posed to independent states by American digital monopolies. As foreign representatives noted in private conversations, both government agencies and private businesses in their countries are often confronted with overt or covert US attempts to interfere with the normal operation of the IT infrastructure, which threatens not only commercial interests but also the foundations of sovereignty.
Enough to say that after the start of the anti-Russian sanctions hysteria by the Americans and their satellites, Russian state institutions and private entities had their software licences for major IT corporations operating in US and EU jurisdictions revoked. For businesses and ordinary citizens of Russia, countless restrictions and blockages that have made working in the digital environment much more difficult were imposed. In addition to direct and public sanctions, Western countries and their affiliated entities were repeatedly trying to attack and paralyze Russian public and private IT systems, and this hostile activity has been carried out not only through official restrictions, but also through purely criminal and terrorist cyberattacks.
The current international environment and those precedents of hostile Western interference in the development and sustainable operation of the digital infrastructure faced by the Russian Federation in 2022 have generated considerable interest from many foreign countries. As no independent country on the planet can currently be immune from attempts by the US and its henchmen to interfere in their domestic politics, representatives from a number of countries in Asia, Africa and the Middle East have shown great interest in working with our country to ensure digital sovereignty and cybersecurity. As the guests from the Persian Gulf countries who participated in the IT Dialogue 2022 forum noted the dependence of their state and commercial structures on US corporations in the field of software and IT security systems, they revealed deep concern after Russia's sovereign policy has been subjected to unprecedented sanctions and large-scale cyberattacks by the Western powers. The experience, the know-how and the products of the Russian Federation's IT industry, which have helped it to successfully counteract the hostile policies of the US and Europe, have already become the subject of close attention and a forum for developing cooperation with dozens of countries around the world, concerned about their own independence and security.
There is no doubt that the achievements demonstrated by Russian government agencies and private businesses in resisting the encroachment of sustainable operations and the development of digital infrastructure will not only be studied by specialists around the world, but will also serve as a powerful impetus for cooperation of RF with allies in sovereign countries in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America.
Experience of Russian government agencies and private business representatives
Among other things, cyber security was on the agenda. Experts also discussed the creation of cyber test sites where information security specialists could conduct training exercises. The issue of combating attacks on state and corporate resources was raised, and the forum also spoke about regional practices. "We are setting up a task force which will coordinate the issues of response and monitoring of computer attacks in the regional executive authorities," said Deputy Minister of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media of the Russian Federation Alexander Shoitov.