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Plenary session of the International Cybersecurity Congress

July 6, 2018, Moscow

Vladimir Putin spoke at a plenary session of the International Cybersecurity Congress organised by Sberbank with the support of Data Economy and the Association of Russian Banks.

The International Cybersecurity Congress is taking place in Moscow on July 5–6. The forum is an intersectoral platform that facilitates the global cybersecurity dialogue against the backdrop of globalisation and digitalisation.

The Congress brings together the heads of major Russian and foreign companies, vendors of cybersecurity software and services, Russian federal officials and world experts.

* * *

President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Colleagues, friends, ladies and gentlemen,

I am happy to welcome here in Moscow not only football fans, but also you, the participants in the International Cybersecurity Congress.

Very important and relevant issues are being discussed during the forum. Today, the active introduction of digital technology outlines the progressive development of each country and maybe the entire world. Artificial intelligence, robotics, the Internet of Things have become the drivers of economic growth, while digital platforms and electronic document flow radically increase the transparency and efficiency of the activity of government agencies, businesses, social and educational institutions.

Let me say a few words about what we are doing in Russia in these areas.

We understand that digitalisation is a crucial driver of national development and can really improve people's wellbeing. During recent years a lot has been done to introduce new technology and programmes in order to provide an active and equal integration of our country into the global information space.

Thus, we rank first in Europe in terms of the number of Internet users: there are over 90 millions of them in Russia. Internet trade is growing fast, while new banking, insurance and logistics products are available.

People are now used to getting state and municipal services online. Even senior citizens are using online services more and more. It’s not so very long ago that they had to collect certain documents or go to numerous offices and waste time queuing up. Sometimes they still have to do this, but the situation is changing for the better. A new digital environment truly improves the life of people. We are going to continue working in this direction consistently and system-wise.

At the same time I would like to point out that the effective digital development can only be based on a digital freedom for businesses, public organisations, citizens, on lifting the barriers that hinder progress. But nevertheless we all need to understand the responsibility and potential risks, threats together with the challenges of the digital sphere.

In 2018, Russia adopted the Digital Economy programme, aimed at making the economy, public administration and social area more efficient and competitive, as well as to promote the demand for innovative ideas and advanced research.

The programme prioritises the creation of flexible legal regulations, which should take into account the specifics of the industry, and to not hamper but to follow the breakthrough development of digital technology. It also should protect economic freedoms, ownership, security, private life and personal space of citizens.

Another important field is the creation of a modern information infrastructure to fast and securely forward, process and store volumes of data bigger by times than today, in other words, to correspond not only to today’s situation, but to the requirements of tomorrow too.

During the programme implementation, all Russian medical and educational institutions, virtually all inhabited localities will get access to modern communication services, and the spreading of the new-generation mobile communications and the wireless networks for the Internet of Things will begin.

In addition to this, a national Russian system will be implemented for assessing data processing centres; and the development of Russian communication satellite systems providing internet access to the remote northern districts and on transport routes will continue.

Another of the programme’s priorities is the development of research and innovation in the sphere of end-to-end digital technology. It will be tested in close cooperation with businesses and scientists, which will allow the promotion of Russian technology and use it as the basis for creating popular and competitive digital products.

And, of course, the most important thing is to train specialists and develop competences that will make it possible to continue large-scale transformations in the digital economy.


Of course, security of the global information space requires special attention today. We can see that the number of threats and risks in this field is only growing. For example, according to the data of the World Economic Forum, last year the damages from cyberattacks alone accounted for about a $1 trillion in the world, and experts believe that this damage will be even worse if no effective measures are taken.

Like other countries, Russia faces these challenges too. For example, the number of cyberattacks on Russian websites in the first quarter of this year grew by a third compared with the same period of the previous year.

I believe that it is the job of the state to neutralise them and provide cybersecurity in general; in order to solve it, we must unite efforts of law enforcement agencies, businesses, public organisations and citizens.

In this connection we are implementing the programme that consists of specific initiatives designed to combat cybercrime. What are these priority steps?

First of all, we will have to devise new comprehensive solutions for preventing and stopping cybercrime. These solutions must enable law enforcement agencies to better respond to threats of this kind. The corresponding legal framework must be created so that we offer individuals convenient tools for interacting with government agencies.

Second, the initiative promoted by businesses to create an automated system for exchanging information on digital threats will be implemented. It is expected to facilitate coordination among telecom operators, lending institutions and internet providers with law enforcement agencies during cyberattacks, helping promptly address any emerging threats.

Third, we will seek to ensure that software and communications infrastructure are based on Russian technology and solutions that were duly certified and approved. Of course, this should not be to the detriment of competition. It goes without saying that we are talking about competitive products here that meet the highest consumer expectations.

Fourth, we intend to achieve a quality breakthrough in training experts in combatting cybercrime, and for this we will introduce practice-oriented approaches and use the best international and Russian practices.

Finally, and this is my fifth point, we intend to develop and improve international exchanges of information on cybercrime. The Government will decide in the near future on the agency that will be in charge of this work.

We know very well that cyber threats have reached a scale where they can be dealt with only through the joint efforts of the entire international community. I would like to say a few words on the matter of international cooperation in the development of the global information space and ensuring its security. Just a few words.

Russia has always called for a joint and fair settlement of any arising problems, let alone disputes. At the same time, we believe that security measures and the regulation of this space must not hinder its technological and innovative development. As I already said, our turbulent digital era depends on freedom, including the freedom to communicate as well as to exchange experience and ideas.

It is very important in this situation to develop common rules of the game and binding international standards that will take into account the rights and interests of all countries as much as possible and will be universal and acceptable for all. We have seen more than once that some countries’ egoism and self-centred policies are damaging the international information stability.

By way of a positive example, I will tell you about the coordination of the General Data Protection Regulation between Russia and European countries within the framework of the Council of Europe. Crucial decisions have been taken to prevent the illegal transfer of Russians’ personal data to other countries.

I would like to say that Russia has advanced a number of initiatives on the rules of responsible behaviour of states in the information sphere, legal mechanisms for fighting cybercrime and international internet governance.

We intend to continue to promote these initiatives, primarily at the most highly respected and influential international organisation, the UN.

In conclusion, I would like to wish you, my colleagues and friends, every success, and I hope that the ideas and proposals advanced at this congress will help boost the development of the global information space and enhance its safety.

Thank you very much.

July 6, 2018, Moscow