From the street, Russia's bid for a place among the world's high-tech titans has none of the gleam of Silicon Valley glass and steel. But walk inside a clutch of weather-beaten, Soviet-era buildings on the southern edge of this Siberian city, and you'll find tinges of San Jose-inspired ambience nurturing what some here call the "Silicon Taiga."
Russian authorities envision high-tech hubs emerging in Moscow and several other Russian cities, including St. Petersburg and Nizhny Novgorod. They are setting aside billions of rubles for the construction of "techno-parks" to give those hubs new office space, hotels and housing. And they have talked about budgeting $7 billion for the development of nanotechnology, the science of creating and manipulating materials at the scale of a nanometer, or billionth of a meter.
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