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Taking a look inside Russia's 'Silicon Forest'




Polina and Ivan with their daughter Vasilisa in their home.Polina studied in South Korea and speaks fluent English. Ivan programs set-top cable boxes for American and Russian televisions. It's the second tech company he has worked for in Akademgorodok.
Polina and Ivan with their daughter Vasilisa in their home.Polina studied in South Korea and speaks fluent English. Ivan programs set-top cable boxes for American and Russian televisions. It's the second tech company he has worked for in Akademgorodok.
Grant Slater
Polina and Ivan with their daughter Vasilisa in their home.Polina studied in South Korea and speaks fluent English. Ivan programs set-top cable boxes for American and Russian televisions. It's the second tech company he has worked for in Akademgorodok.
Anastasia Titova wires transistors and circuits in the bowels of a San Francisco-style startup incubator called Akadempark in the middle of the Siberian taiga. Russian government officials and local entrepreneurs started building the complex – called Akadempark – three years ago in an attempt to revive a declining Soviet planned town.
Grant Slater
Polina and Ivan with their daughter Vasilisa in their home.Polina studied in South Korea and speaks fluent English. Ivan programs set-top cable boxes for American and Russian televisions. It's the second tech company he has worked for in Akademgorodok.
Marina Pilipenko watches her friends – many of them born in Akademgorodok and now attending university there – burn the effigy of a witch on the frozen waters of the Ob Sea to mark the end of winter. The town is also home to Novosibirsk State University, a pipeline of talent for the academy and now the incubator.
Grant Slater


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Mention Siberia, and one could conjure up images of gulags or endless stretches of snow — certainly not a hub of burgeoning technology. However, that's exactly what's there. Welcome to the "Silicon Forest," which is Russia's answer to the American dominance in tech innovation.

Visual journalist Grant Slater recently visited the area, and he talked to Ben Bergman on Friday to discuss what type of technology the Russians are building and why it might not be a bad thing if they took their technological know how to America.

To hear this interview, click on "Listen Now" in the left corner.