Putin promotes nanotechnology in Russia
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Moscow - Russia's economy needs to diversify into sciences such as nanotechnology, which may also benefit its military, President Vladimir Putin has said.
Putin said Russia's economic success in the past eight years - fuelled by high prices for its energy exports - had made it possible once again to channel major investments into science, an area neglected since the end of the Soviet Union in 1991.
"Our resources should be concentrated on stimulating the development of new technology," Putin said during a visit to the Soviet-era Kurchatov nuclear research centre.
"This could be the key to developing new, modern and effective military systems."
Nanotechnology is the science of manipulating and enhancing material on an ultra-small scale. It is primarily used in computing, cosmetics and fuel additives, but scientists consider its potential almost limitless.
"Nanotechnology is an activity for which this government will not spare money," Putin said.
Alongside an economic boom, Russia has seen a surge in the nationalist sentiment that had ebbed during the chaotic post-Soviet 1990s, and a renewed focus on military spending.
Sergei Ivanov, a first deputy prime minister and a potential successor to Putin, said the government would spend 28 billion roubles (about R7 600) over the next three years on nanotechnology research.
The institute is named after Igor Kurchatov, a pioneering nuclear scientist who died in 1960, and is the heart of Russia's nanotechnology research.