Online Savior: The Presidential Grants for the Internet

Fighting propaganda, blue whales and the digital economy
27.07.2017
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In 2017, the Fund for Presidential Grants received 70 applications from non-profit organizations for Internet projects. Mikhail Shubin looked into the sixty four project that met the grant’s requirements.


The digital economy and German Klimenko

The Institute for Internet Development (IID) made the largest grant request for three projects totalling 65 million rubles.

The organization plans to create personnel training centers for the digital economy sphere. The Center "will build a system of interaction between business, educational organizations and students," will solve the problem of personnel shortage in IT, and will popularize technological entrepreneurship. The total cost of the project will be 30 million rubles.

Another IID project is called "Digital Region" and asked for a 30 million ruble grant. The project plans to collect and analyze the "best" digital practices in Russia in the field of education, health, transport, housing and communal services, industry, construction, and interaction with state structures, ranking these technologies in terms of efficiency and social satisfaction with them by social groups."

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German Klimenko is the gray cardinal of the Russian Internet

"Digital Region" plans to analyze this information and establish contact between state bodies and various scientific and technical organizations, as well as IT business. All this supposedly will help the "high-tech digital economy."

Another goal of the project is to reduce Russians’ discontent with state entities, by promoting the "best practices in the provision of public services."

The final IID application deals with the rehabilitation and socialization of patients with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). For 5 million rubles the organization will create a rehabilitation complex, in which modern technologies will play a key role.

"Virtual reality allows us to create a safe space for the patient, enabling us to play and work out everyday and life situations without fear of consequences," the application states.

The positive effects of training in virtual reality for people with autism were demonstrated by an experiment at the Brain Health Center of the University of Texas in Dallas. After completing the course, the participants made significant progress in understanding the actions of others, solving problems and adapting to the world around them. The study was published in the journal Computers in Human Behavior.

IID was established in 2015. The organization collects information, analyzes trends in the development of Internet dependent industries in Russia and abroad.

The foundation of IID in 2015 was supported at that time by the first deputy head of the presidential administration, Vyacheslav Volodin. The chairman of the expert council is Putin's adviser on Internet development issues German Klimenko.

Blue whales and the Cossacks

In 2017, 13 applications were submitted for projects on Internet child protection. Protection, according to the applicants, is required for children both from "Blue Whales" and from various kinds of propaganda.

The organization "Center for the Protection of Children from Internet Threats" plans to develop their site for 6.6 million rubles to leave anonymous messages  to request help for children. Another service checks youth activities on social networks for "dangerous interests." After analyzing the information, the center promises to transfer data "to power structures." They also promise to create a hotline to help children "who have been subjected to unlawful, destructive, deviant and other negative effects of social networks."

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The site will help fight “Blue Whales”

Russiangate has already written about two "online rescuers." The first organization wanted to create an "immunity to destructive and provocative influences on the Internet" for 7.2 million rubles.

The second promises to create a neural network for 20.5 million rubles , which will monitor negative trends on the Internet. As stated in the application, the need for an analysis of modern trends arose from the game "Blue Whale."

The "United Cossack Education Center" will launch large-scale activities throughout Russia to protect children for 1.7 million rubles. The plan of the organization is as follows: first, for youth, conferences will be held, where the basics of cybersecurity will be taught. Then these "druzhinniki" will lead social network groups and blogs devoted to Internet security. In addition, the Cossacks will create "new positive Internet content."

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The Cossacks also want to protect the Internet

The applicants believe that the project solves a multitude of tasks: beginning from the formation of love for the motherland and respect for the traditions of its people, ending with the stopping negative information development among children and adolescents.

"The United Cossack Education Center" has won 11 state purchases since 2015, for a total of 28 million rubles. Ten purchases are from the Ministry of Education and Science of Russia. In general, the contracts concern the holding of various master classes, celebrations, Cossack youth meetings (for example, "Ready for Labor and Defense" in 2017 for 4.5 million rubles), as well as the ceremonies of awarding the presidential banner to the best Cossack cadet corpus.

Among the co-founders of the center - the rector of the MGUTU named after K.G. Razumovsky (FCU) Valentina Ivanova. The abbreviation FCU stands for first Cossack university. President of the United Cossack Education Center Alexei Kosorotikov is also an employee of this university. In the FCU, he is responsible for the work of the official website. In addition, Kosorotikov leads the organization of patriotic education of students "Cossack Smena."

In the summer of 2015, Kosorotikov (3.8%), together with FCU (96.2%), established IIP Razumovsky LLC. The university employee managed this enterprise for two years, until June 2017. Both the Cossack Smena and Razumovsky were registered at the same address as the FCU,  Zemlyanoi Val, 73.

OOO MIP "Razumovsky" deals with the activities of advertising agencies, processing and creating databases, information resources, and studying public opinion. Perhaps, it is this company that will help the Cossacks teach young people cybersecurity.

Programs for disabled people

Another topic of increased attention is helping people with disabilities. For this, NGOs are planning to create various websites and programs on the Internet. For such developments, 11 grant-seekers have requested 36.6 million rubles in grants.

"United Country" fund for the support of the disabled requested 7.1 million rubles for an annual online competition for people with disabilities.

The president of the fund is Sergey Shilov, a six-time champion of the Paralympic Games and a multiple world and European champion.

"This festival actually supports disabled people, solves their pressing issues, promotes employment, is a platform for mutually beneficial communication and, as the experience of the past shows, even establishes business ties in the social segment," the text of the application says.


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Details of the application

One of the most interesting projects was submitted by "Justice" NGO in the Republic of Tatarstan. For 3.3 million rubles, the organization wants to create an Internet resource that will allow people with disabilities to work from home. On the site you can learn the necessary skills, as well as find work orders. Judging by the text of the application, people with disabilities will be offered to work in call centers: to call and answer calls.

Regional Public Organisation "Justice" was established in 2011 by four entrepreneurs, but what this organization has been doing for the last six years is not clear. No data could be found about it.

Twenty-nine-year-old businessman from Naberezhnye Chelny Eric Gafarov is one of the co-founders. He owns the Naberezhnye Chelny VIP Club People, the Sky Lounge restaurant, a number of other catering places, and a 40% share of a factory in Hong Kong for the production of cream for skin diseases. Now he plans to open a discount shop in Kazan with clothes and goods for home from the Korean network Ilahui (pronounced as "Ilahuay").

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