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Putin Proposes Fund to Support Internet Initiatives

Putin wants Internet entrepreneurs to focus on socially oriented projects. Vladimir Filonov

President Vladimir Putin on Thursday proposed creating a special fund to finance Internet-based initiatives targeting pressing social problems.

The fund will offer financial support to online initiatives that result in an "improved standard of living for Russians and which use new technologies," Putin said during a board meeting of the Agency for Strategic Initiatives, RIA-Novosti reported.

Among such initiatives, Putin listed electronic libraries, charitable organizations, distance-learning portals and "simply useful games" that have already attracted some financial backing.

The new fund could help solve Russia's "brain drain," according to Putin.

The fund would support "creative and talented" young people willing to work in Russia instead of "turning to Silicon Valley," he said. "Let's create the conditions for these people to realize their projects here, for the benefit of their motherland."

Answering how the fund would be financed, Putin said he would personally look for funding sources. "I would really like us to have a few hundred million rubles for serious and large-scale work," he said.

Andrei Nikitin, director general of the Agency for Strategic Initiatives, announced at the same meeting Thursday that his organization would prepare proposals on the project by February 2013, RIA-Novosti said.

The Agency for Strategic Initiatives, a nongovernmental organization created by then-Prime Minister Putin in 2011, aims to improve the investment climate in Russia, support young and ambitious leaders and "build a country where people want to live and work," according to its website.

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