Prayer mat

Electronic prayer mat invented in Dagestan

A startup from Makhachkala in Dagestan, southern Russia, has come up with an out of the ordinary new product. Developer Eldar Klyichev has designed an electronic prayer mat, which helps Muslims to keep track of rakats, the ritual movements and words used during Islamic prayer.

The electronic prayer mat is equipped with touch sensors which help users not to lose count during prayers. If a worshipper makes a mistake, forgetting the order or changing position at the wrong time, the sensors begin to vibrate, helping them to realise their mistake without disturbing the ritual.

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Russian money

Russian pension funds to invest $1 billion in venture funds and innovative companies

In a confirmation of the country’s commitment to developing new technologies, the Russian government announced that a fraction of the total assets of the country’s pension savings funds will be invested in the shares of venture capital funds, as well as in securities and the financial instruments of high-tech companies.

Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has instructed the Central Bank, the Ministry of Economic Development and the Ministry of Finance to prepare a proposal by November 1 for the investment of pension savings in high-tech and venture capital projects.

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Russia emblem

“We are aiming for total IT sovereignty in Russia,” says Russian Minister

Communications and Mass Media Minister Nikolai Nikiforov has announced that “no quicker” than in three years the ministry plans to develop such a strong IT sector that the country no longer needs foreign software.

“We are aiming for total IT sovereignty in Russia. And it’s achievable in principle. Russia has always been renowned for its programmers,” the Minister stated at a youth forum held in Sevastopol, Crimea, earlier this month.

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mail.ru group

Mail.ru Group paid $345 million for its 12% stake in VKontakte

In its accounts for the first half of 2014, Mail.ru Group has disclosed the sum it paid in April of this year to Ivan Tavrin for 12% of VKontakte, Russia’s leading social network also known as VK.com. The stake cost the group around $345 million, valuing the company at almost $2.9 billion.

The LSE-listed Internet group thus owns 52% of Vkontakte. The remaining 48% belong to Russian investment fund United Capital Partners (UCP), which acquired its stake in controversial conditions in 2013.

Платки и палантины

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JCB+UnionPay

UnionPay and JCB to spearhead Asian payment push in Russia

While Russia is shifting a part of its business focus from Western countries to alternative partners, Asian bank card giants UnionPay and JCB have expanded initiatives to conquer the Russian market.

China’s UnionPay, which entered the market in 2007, claims to be accepted by over 100,000 POS terminals and more than 30,000 ATMs in Russia, and that a total of 45,000 UnionPay cards have been issued in Russia.

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Stock price

Russia’s Quadro Capital Partners and Forex Club to invest $200 million in international online trading

Earlier this week Russian venture fund Quadro Capital Partners (FXC-QCP VC) and online trading service provider Forex Club announced investment plans in the field of Internet trading on the international stock market. The target geography includes Russia, Ukraine, other states of the former Soviet Union, and Europe.

The total volume of investments could reach up to $200 million, a Forex Club executive told the Russian news agency Interfax, with a planned amount of investment of up to $50 million per one project. Both acquisitions with further integration into Forex Club and capital injections in independent companies are under consideration.

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Ukraine-Russia

Ukraine could block Russian “propaganda websites”

The Ukrainian authorities may block Russian web resources which they believe to be responsible for propaganda, as well as those linked to the Donbass insurgency.

“At the moment we are working at both the legal and technical level in order to follow the examples of Israel, America and China, closing down sites which pose a threat to our people,” said interior ministry aid Anton Gerashchenko earlier this week.

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Zvooq

Zvooq secures $20 million “to bring legal music streaming to the masses and destroy music piracy in Russia”

Russian music-streaming platform Zvooq yesterday announced it secured an investment of $20 million in a Series A round led by Ulmart, Russia’s leading online retailer, with the participation of Essedel Capital, a Helsinki-based private equity fund.

The funds will be used to bolster and promote Zvooq’s freemium music-streaming offer. Zvooq will also “initiate roll-out of the service in some other emerging markets.”

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EBRD

EBRD pulls out of planned joint fund with Rusnano

The European Bank of Reconstruction and Development, or EBRD, has pulled out of a planned joint investment fund with state-owned technology investment company Rusnano, after the EU clamped down on EBRD lending in Russia over Moscow’s actions in Ukraine, Rusnano CEO Anatoly Chubais was quoted as saying by ITAR-Tass on Tuesday.

The EBRD, which has more than 300 active projects in Russia, froze its financing of new projects in the country last month following the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17, a disaster that sparked fresh rounds of Western sanctions against Moscow that targeted the technology sector, among others.

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USA Russia

Two major US high tech firms stop supplying Russian partners

US corporation Applied Materials has refused to supply equipment for Crocus Nanoelectronica, the plant which will manufacture magnetoresistive random access memory (MRMA) chips in Moscow, head of Rusnano Anatoly Chubais said in an interview with ITAR-TASS.

Crocus Nanoelectronica is a joint venture between Rusnano, the Russian state corporation dedicated to nanotechnologies, and French high-tech firm Crocus Technology. The first stage of the MRAM production (MRAM) was launched in late 2013The project, which follows agreements reached in 2011, is the world’s first site to manufacture MRAM according to 90-nanometer design rule, according to Rusnano.

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East-West Digital News is published with the support of:
  • Higher school of economics
  • The Institute for Statistical Studies and Economics of Knowledge
  • Russian Venture Company
  • Territory of tomorrow foundation