Russian President Vladimir Putin values the importance of hi-tech and the digital economy and takes special interest in this area, Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov said at a panel discussion of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF-2017) devoted to the blockchain technology development.

“I can say that only on the second morning did our president excuse us from our duties, our small group of PMs and administration employees. We were discussing hi-tech and the digital economy exclusively. It is not an overstatement to say that the president is passionately fond of it, as he understands that growth rates are based on the digital economy and hi-tech leadership,” Shuvalov said.

The first deputy prime minister added that the development of hi-tech is being discussed within the Eurasian Economic Community, and Putin constantly prepares for such discussions and talks to experts.

“At first, other state leaders viewed it with suspicion, but now they realize that this is the answer to all challenges and they just have to be bolder,” Shuvalov noted.

The St. Petersburg International Economic Forum is being held from June 1 to June 3, 2017, in Russia’s second-largest city. This year’s forum is united under the slogan “In search of a new balance in the global economy.” TASS is the forum’s main information partner and the official photo hosting provider. In addition, TASS is the operator of the forum’s presentation zone.