RDIF, Sberbank, Gazprom Neft, Yandex, Mail.ru and MTS create AI-Russia Alliance

Press release, 09.11.2019

Moscow, November 9, 2019 - The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF, Russia’s sovereign wealth fund), Sberbank, Gazprom Neft, Yandex, Mail.ru and MTS have announced the signing of a cooperation agreement envisaging the forging of an artificial intelligence Alliance, called AI-Russia Alliance, at Artificial Intelligence Journey (AIJ), Eastern Europe’s largest artificial intelligence forum.

The parties are set to join efforts to create technology components spurring the development of AI solutions; facilitate the development of a dynamic AI market, as well as AI products and services; speed up technological evolution and securing Alliance members’ leadership positions on AI technology markets across the globe; coordinate the activities of the business community and research organizations regarding the implementation of the National Artificial Intelligence Strategy; evolve communities and organizations that create and introduce AI solutions. 

The AI-Russia Alliance will also focus on the following activities:

·     organize and hold scientific and analytical research engaging AI experts;

·     organize international cooperation in AI;

·     analyze industry issues regarding AI technology introduction and discuss possible ways to tackle them;

·     assist in creating domestic infrastructure needed to develop, test, introduce and use AI technologies in all sectors of the economy;

·     develop an AI business community in Russia, including by defining open standards for AI technology and its use in the development of solutions by the alliance members and in relations with other technology suppliers/developers;

·     cooperate to create AI products complying with the current legislation; 

·     cooperate in AI research projects, including consolidation of demand for research projects and formation of venues to test the use of technologies in real life;

·     monitor and assist the industry business community in fulfilling the National AI Strategy, as well as the roadmap to develop the high-tech AI area approved by the Government of the Russian Federation.


Kirill Dmitriev, CEO of the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), said:

“In September, RDIF and the Government of the Russian Federation agreed to jointly develop the AI industry. RDIF has already reached an agreement with the leading global investors to attract $2 bn of investments in Russian companies developing AI projects. We are pleased to partner with the leading Russian companies that have expertise across various industries to implement such a large-scale and complex task. The creation of the alliance will support the development of cutting-edge AI technologies in Russia, facilitate their entry into the global market and strengthen the position of Russian companies in one of the most competitive high-tech areas.”

Herman Gref, CEO and Chairman of the Executive Board of Sberbank, said:

“The alliance will let all its members unite their knowledge and technologies to grow their AI expertise. This should open up more possibilities for applying AI technologies in the business activities of companies and the state in general, and will contribute to the implementation and promotion of the national strategy adopted by Russian President Vladimir Putin and the Government of the Russian Federation.”

Alexander Dyukov, Chairman of the Management Board of PJSC Gazprom Neft, commented:

“The development and active use of artificial intelligence technologies is one of the important objectives for the Russian economy. The alliance can become an effective tool for achieving this objective. It brings together companies from different industries, which already have expertise in artificial intelligence. We expect the alliance to provide synergy effect and open new opportunities for the development of this technology in our country.”

Arkady Volozh, CEO of Yandex Group of Companies, said:

“Artificial intelligence is a complicated and diverse area with a lot to be learned and discovered in. The collaboration of the largest tech companies in Russia will let stakeholders move faster towards the new horizons because collective efforts have always moved science forward.”

Boris Dobrodeev, CEO of Mail.ru Group (Russia), commented:

“AI is embedded in all our products, letting us create breakthrough solutions and deliver each user a unique personalized experience. A mature AI industry spells market maturity and digital economy competitiveness. We are confident that the alliance will become a powerful driver for the Russian technology market and the synergy from leading players teaming up will take AI development to a new level. As an alliance member, we will be responsible for stimulating stakeholders to introduce use cases and we’ll share success stories and best B2B practices of how digital technology contributes to business development.”

Alexey Kornya, President of PJSC MTS, noted:

“The forming of the alliance will let stakeholders create the infrastructure Russia needs to develop AI technologies fast. Vital lines of cooperation here will be the laying down of common data use principles together, the pooling of efforts to analyze the outlooks for the implementation of innovative solutions in Russia, and the cooperation in educational projects to grow a talent pool. MTS is already working towards these goals successfully and is ready to share its expertise with the professional community to tailor breakthrough Russian technologies together.”




Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) is Russia's sovereign wealth fund established in 2011 to make equity co-investments, primarily in Russia, alongside reputable international financial and strategic investors. RDIF acts as a catalyst for direct investment in the Russian economy. RDIF’s management company is based in Moscow. Currently, RDIF has experience of the successful joint implementation of more than 70 projects with foreign partners totaling more than RUB1.5 tn and covering 95% of the regions of the Russian Federation. RDIF’s portfolio of companies employs more than 800,000 people and generates revenues which equate to over 6% of Russia’s GDP. RDIF has established joint strategic partnerships with leading international co-investors from more than 15 countries that total more than $40 bn. Further information can be found at rdif.ru

PJSC Sberbank is Russia’s largest bank and a leading global financial institution. Sberbank holds almost one third of aggregate Russian banking sector assets, it is the key lender to the national economy and the biggest deposit taker in Russia. The Central Bank of the Russian Federation is the founder and principal shareholder of Sberbank owning 50% of the bank’s authorised capital plus one voting share, with the remaining 50% held by domestic and international investors. Sberbank has more than 97.8 million active customers in 21 countries. Sberbank has the largest distribution network in Russia with almost 15,000 branches, and its international operations include the UK, US, CIS, Central and Eastern Europe, India, China, and other countries. Official websites of the Bank: www.sberbank.com/index(Sberbank Group website), www.sberbank.ru/ru/person

PJSC Gazprom Neft is a vertically integrated oil company. Its key activities are the exploration and development of oil and gas fields, oil refining, oil products manufacture and sale. Gazprom Neft is one of the top ten of world public companies by proved liquid hydrocarbons reserves and is one of the leaders by the reserve-replacement ratio. Gazprom Neft is one of the three largest companies in Russia in terms of oil production and refining. Gazprom Neft Group comprises more than 70 production, refining and sales subsidiaries throughout Russia, and countries of near and far abroad. Gazprom Neft exports to more than 50 countries worldwide, and sells its products throughout Russia and abroad through its own extensive retail network. The company currently has more than 1,830 gas stations in Russia, CIS countries and Europe. Official website: www.gazprom-neft.ru.

Yandex is an Internet company which develops the most popular search engine and Internet portal in Russia and creates services that help people in their daily life, both online and offline. Using Yandex services, one can solve a variety of tasks: surf the Internet, listen to music, choose products and do much more. Yandex also creates products for advertisers and business owners. Yandex products and services are based on world-class technologies created by a team of talented mathematicians and programmers.

Mail.ru Group (MAIL, listed since November 5, 2010) is the largest internet business in Russia in terms of total daily audience (Mediascope Web Index Desktop+Mobile, Russia, population aged 12-64 in the cities 100,000+, May 2019). Mail.ru Group is developing the leading domestic internet communications and entertainment platform. The company owns Russia’s two largest Russian language social networks, VKontakte (VK) and Odnoklassniki (OK), leading email service, one of Russia’s largest internet portals (Mail.ru), and three instant messaging services. Mail.ru Group’s gaming portfolio under MY.GAMES brand includes Russia's largest MMO games and global mobile games. In 2019, Mail.ru Group Tech Lab was launched with a primary focus on technology and innovation development. Mail.ru Group is a shareholder of AliExpress Russia JV along with Alibaba Group, MegaFon and Russian Direct Investment Fund. The company partners with Sberbank to jointly develop O2O service platform targeting food delivery and taxi markets.

PJSC MTS is the leading telecommunications group in Russia and the CIS. The company provides a range of mobile and fixed-line communications-based services, Internet access, cable and satellite TV, digital services and mobile apps, e-commerce services, IT-solutions in systems integration, Internet of Things, monitoring, cloud computing and e-document management. MTS serves over 105 mn mobile subscribers in Russia, Ukraine, Armenia and Belarus and holds a leading position in the Russian mobile business market, serving the largest 78 mn subscriber base. MTS is majority-owned by Sistema JSFC. The company has been listed on the New-York Stock Exchange since July 2000 (NYSE: MBT) and locally on the Moscow Exchange since November 2003 (MOEX: MTSS).

For additional information contact:

Arseniy Palagin                                     Maria Shiryaevskaya / Andrew Leach

Russian Direct Investment Fund              Hudson Sandler

Press Secretary                                        Tel: +44 (0) 20 7796 4133 

Tel: +7 495 644 34 14, ext. 2395

Mobile: +7 916 110 31 41

E-mail: arseniy.palagin@rdif.ru