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Can greater digitisation boost Russia's faltering economy?

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Can greater digitisation boost Russia's faltering economy?
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Russia's economy remains in the doldrums - in the first quarter of 2019 it grew by just half a percent year on year.

And now, to address this, the government is tripling spending on digitising more areas of the economy.

At the annual International Economic Forum in St Petersburg Euronews asked the CEO of IBS, one of Russia’s leading IT services companies, what that might mean for the IT industry.

"It is very important that the digital economy does not turn into an economy in which only state-owned players have some role, because, after all, IT is a competitive market, and the best technologies are still most often created not by states, but by private players in a tough competitive struggle," Svetlana Balanova said.

President Vladimir Putin wants to double the amount small and medium sized businesses, or SMEs, contribute to GDP from 20 to 40 percent. But that's been dismissed by most analysts as unrealistic.

Nadya Cherkasova was named one of the most influential businessswomen in the world under 35 by the British magazine Management Today. She's now a board member of Otkritie FC Bank and she thinks the best way to go about boosting SMEs is to tackle gender inequality.

"We now need to turn everything around and help women develop their own business," she told Euronews.

But even if SMEs do boost the economy there are other serious problems that lie behind Russia's faltering economy: oil production is falling, there's little foreign investment and the risk of more sanctions by the West is increasing.

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