MDL(09/11/95 9:53 AM
In the post-cold war world, in which national security is being redefined to include economic and environmental security, the role of international science and technology cooperation with Russia has never been more critical. There are many efforts to develop the information infrastructure of Russia and telecommunications links between Russia and the United States. Such efforts could strengthen the partnership between the United States and Russia, spur trade and economic growth, improve health care and education, and facilitate scientific cooperation.
CURRENT AND FUTURE PROGRAMS:
Several Government agencies and private firms already have initiatives underway to support development and use of the telecommunications infrastructure in Russia. Some specific activities, both current and planned, are listed below:
q The Memorandum of Understanding on Cooperation in Telecommunications, signed February 28,1994, in Washington D.C., by the Department of State and the Ministry of Posts & Telecommunications of the Russian Federation, calls for:
q The Memorandum of Understanding on the Global Information Infrastructure Initiative, signed July 22,1994 in Moscow, the Russian Federation, by the Department of State; the National Telecommunications & Information Administration, Department of Commerce; the Federal Communications Commission; for the United States, and the Ministry of Posts & Telecommunications; the Presidential Committee of the Russian Federation for Informatization Policy; for the Russian Federation, calls for:
q The Federal Communications Commission, through Congressionally-authorized programs for assistance to the former Soviet republics, works with several U.S. agencies including the State Department, the Department of Commerce, the United States Agency for International Development, the U.S. Trade and Development Agency and the United States Information Agency in seminars and discussions with regulatory counterparts from the former Soviet republics. These collaborations include discussions about developing national regulatory structures and procedures, and a broad spectrum of telecommunications and broadcasting regulatory issues.
q The Bureau for International Communications and Information Policy of the Department of State administers programs for telecommunications development assistance to the Newly Independent States of the Former Soviet Union under interagency agreements with the U.S. Agency for International Development.
q The United States Department of State, Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs, International Communications & Information Policy, manages and administers a telecom assistance program with the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications of the Russian Federation. A yearly work plan is developed and approved at the ministerial level. On the U.S. side, telecom policy and technical expertise is provided by the Federal Communications Commission, the National Telecommunications & Information Administration of the Department of Commerce and U.S. telecom companies, including a Moscow based Telecommunications & Electronics Consortium. Projects have been funded through grants from the Trade and Development Agency. Projects have included:
q The Telecom/Information Equipment and Services (TIES) Subgroup, a government-to-government program under the U.S. - Russia Business Development Committee (BDC), was created to provide U.S. and Russian Government backing for the expansion of bilateral commercial relations in high technology industries, including computers, telecommunications, and electronic components and instrumentation. The Subgroup is playing a significant role in identifying and implementing mutually profitable trade and investment opportunities in the high technology area and supporting the establishment of an information technology infrastructure in Russia.
q The National Science Foundation working in partnership with Sprint established an International Connections Management (ICM) Infrastructure program. This program has placed special emphasis on expanding linkages to networks in Russia and other Newly Independent States.
q The International Research & Exchange Board (IREX) established "public-access E-mail sites" in 1993 to provide modest equipment support and develop information resources relevant to the specific professional needs of its policy-oriented constituency in Russia. IREX has connected core clusters of journalists, scholars, human rights organizations, and other non-governmental organizations across Russia and Ukraine, using pilot versions of an Internet Peace Corps model.
q The Telecommunications Industry Association has established subsidiary offices in the former Soviet Union. TIA assists the former Soviet Union in modernizing their telecommunications networks and helping them understand the applicable technologies from U.S. telecommunications suppliers.
q The World Press Freedom Committees, a non-profit, U.S.-based private coordination group of U.S. and international media organizations, has made grants to aid news media and journalism schools in the former Soviet Union.
q USIA has established a compressed digital video terminus at its headquarters in Washington in order to conduct two-way video and audio teleconferences. We have already hosted the first seminar series entitled "Current approaches in political science" conducted by the American Political Science Association with the Moscow Academy of Management and Economics for a class of Moscow area undergraduate and graduate students.
By the end of 1996, USIA will distribute computers and modems, and purchase e-mail accounts and subcriptions to wire services for independent print and electronic media throughout Russia. These e-mail accounts will allow Russian independent media to communicate with one another and link into national and international data banks. The wire service subscription will provide media outlets with alternate sources of news and information.
q The Voice Of America has established professional relationships with dozens of new independent radio stations in Russia. VOA has donated satellite receiving equipment to twelve Russian affiliate stations to date, and these stations carry live VOA Russian programs and/or English VOA Europe. Satellite receiving equipment will soon be installed in seven additional stations, with another eight to be established later. Much of this programming is delivered via the Russian satellite system "Intersputnik". VOA also provides taped programs to 23 more stations, and regularly telephones correspondent feeds to a number of regional and national Russian stations.
q The Voice Of America and the Bureau of Broadcasting have conducted workshops for nearly 5,000 journalists from more than 135 countries through the International Media Training Center. Since 1989, the center has hosted hundreds of print, radio and television journalists and technical experts from the former Soviet Union. The center offers courses in management, journalistic ethics and standards, news writing, reporting, sales, and business management of private broadcasting stations.
VOA is now on Internet. Those with access to internet will be able to receive VOA's newswire and correspondent reports instantaneously. Those individuals who have purchased sound boards for their computers will be able to hear VOA reports in their native languages with the perfect clarity of FM radio.
In Russia, VOA will institute a pilot project to electronically distribute USIA's daily "Wireless File" - a Printed news digest currently delivered by hand to over 80 Russian media outlets.
USIA's global television network - 'Worldnet" is now producing its daily news program 'Newsfile" in Russian. Russian Television Channel 4 and numerous independent television stations throughout Russia are carrying our daily news broadcasts. In addition, Ostankino TV, and Russian Television have both received television satellite dishes and receivers in order to be able to participate in telebridges via Worldnet with USG officials and private sector experts. Our Embassy in Moscow will have this capacity within a few weeks.
Worldnet's acquired TV programs - many of which focus on market economics and democracy-building - are dubbed into Russian and offered at no cost to Russian TV stations affiliated with Worldnet, and are available to Russian stations on video tape through our video libraries at our embassy and consulates in Russia. Through Worldnet, millions of Russians see hundreds of hours of high quality American documentaries on useful, timely topics.
In addition to dubbed American programs, Worldnet brings Russian TV documentary producers to the U.S. to make films on topics of mutual interest. Recent co-production topics included "Law Enforcement in the U.S.," "Defense Conversion," "Federalism," "Small Business Development." These films are then shown on Russian television stations throughout the country. In the coming year, USIA will also be funding indigenous Russian productions, filmed in Russia, on topics of democratic and market reform. The purpose of these TV co-production programs is two fold: to transfer useful, substantive information, and to help train and finance independent TV journalists and stations.
q Under an Interagency Agreement with USAID, the State Department assistance program provides telecommunications policy reform support working with the Regional Commonwealth in Communications and bilaterally with selected NIS countries. This activity organized telecommunications seminars on basic telecommunications legislation, tariff regime, mobile communications, packet switching, and regulatory issues. FCC and U.S. private sector are intimately involved in this program. State signed Memoranda of Understanding with Russia on Cooperation in Telecommunications and on the Global Information Infrastructure Initiative which provide a framework for ongoing consultations.
q USAID is providing funding to establish independent television and radio stations within the NIS. As the NIS move toward multi-party democracies, independent media will provide crucial forums for the exchange of ideas and for governmental-citizen interaction.
q USIA funds the Russian-American Press Centers currently established in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Nizhny Novgorod, and Novosibirsk. These centers provide Russian, American and third country journalists with on-line data bases such as LEXIS/NEXIS, carry wire services such as AP and ITAR-TASS, and have large reference collections of important newspapers, the USIA wireless file, and news magazines and journals from around the world. The centers also keep substantive background data on topics such as nuclear proliferation, industrial development, ecology, as well as statistical data on social indices. The centers also serve as a forum for policy discussions, training and professional networking for journalists's associations interested in influencing media law and policy.
Through its various American libraries and resource centers in Russia, USIA conveys information about the U.S. and the Western World to Russian students, educators, journalists, government officials, and ordinary citizens. The centers have reference and periodical collections, books in circulation, information outreach services, student advising services, computer databases, internet, and serve as a venue for substantive seminars featuring American experts, and even offer English language classes.
USIA trains Russian journalists and media business managers through a variety of programs. USIA hosts seminars throughout Russia on topics such as media business management for independents.
Most of USIA's academic exchange and university partnership programs with Russia have already established grants in communications in order to build telecommunications expertise among future generations of young Russians. In addition, all of the scholarship programs actively encourage use of E-mail and distance learning tools to maintain contact and share information with grantees. As a result, at least 116 Russian institutes of higher education currently have e-mail addresses. E-mail has become a common, reliable method of communicating with universities throughout Russia.
q The U.S. Geological Survey is providing computer hardware, software, and technical support to establish Geographic Information System facilities at four sites in Russia through cooperative programs with the Russian State Committee on Geology (ROSKOMNEDRA) and the Russian Federal Service for Geodesy and Cartography (RUSKARTOGRAFIA). Funded by USAID and the U.S. Department of State, these facilities will compile, digitize, analyze and distribute geologic, environmental, and related information to support programs in energy and mineral resources, sustainable economic development, and environmental protection.
q SOROS Program to Link Non-Profit Organizations in 30 Russian Cities:
Financier George Soros' program to link Russian fundamental science institutions to the internet will soon expand to the cities of Novosibirsk (specifically the institutes in the Academic City) and Tula, according to Soros officials here. Expanding the telecommunications network to these two cities is part of a larger program that would connect schools, universities, hospitals, and other not-for-profit organizations in 30 cities of the FSU to international telecommunications networks such as Internet.
Separate from his FSU program, Soros has been actively developing a computer network connecting fundamental research institutions in Moscow. The network is joined together by a fiber-optic cable which unites major scientific institutions such as the Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow State University, and the Institute for Space Research. The Soros' Fund has invested approximately $600,000 in the project. Soros has been working on the Moscow project together with the Russian Fund for Basic Science which will contribute another $600,000 to connect 50 more institutions to the network, bringing the total up to approximately l00 institutions. In addition Soros has pledged to connect l00 schools and an undetermined number of libraries to the network.
q U.S. West:
Advanced wireless communications development has focused on applications that meet not only huge commercial and residential demand, but also on targeted educational, financial, transportation, medical and agribusiness needs.
In August 1994, the Russian Ministry of Communications and the Russian Telecommunications Development Corporation legally established a non-profit , non commercial "Telecommunication Forum." The forum is open to any Western telecom company active in Russia who wants to meet in an informal, off-the-record setting with Russian Government officials to discuss telecom issues, exchange latest ideas, and develop better personal relationships.
U.S. West has committed several million dollars toward establishing Business Skill Development Centers. USAID last month announced matching grants to help develop these centers, first in St. Petersburg, Nizhny Novgorod, and Moscow, and eventually in several other cities on a self-sustaining basis. Innovative aspects of the training include long distance learning applications and an unusually focused business curriculum. Other Western firms will eventually participate in the Centers as well.
International Gateways: With the Russian Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications, U.S. West operates three new international gateway switches in Moscow and St. Petersburg. Service began in April 1993, and substantially improves the flow of international calling into and out of Russia.
Cellular Telephony: U.S. West and the St. Petersburg City Telephone Network Production Association built and operate Russia's first commercial cellular phone network in St. Petersburg, called Delta Telecom. Service commenced in September 1991. In Moscow, U.S. West and several Russian partners began cellular service in December 1991 as Moscow Cellular Communications. In January 1993, the MPT selected U.S. West as the coordinator of nationwide 900 GSM digital cellular telephone service, as well as the provider for service in 13 regions across Russia, with first commercial service to begin by the end of 1994.
In December 1993, U.S. West formed the Russian Telecommunications Development Corporation (RTDC), an innovative organization to manage, develop and fund telecom projects in Russia. U.S. West contributed all its Russian Businesses at fair value and attracted seven large private investors to create RTDC. RTDC will extend its existing equity of $140 million with debt and reinvest all dividends from its ventures to create a self-funding mechanism for the development of major telecom projects in Russia, such as the 50-50 venture with the MPT. The U.S. Overseas Private Investment Corporation provided $125 million in debt and quasi-equity financing to RTDC. USAID recently entered into an innovative grant with RTDC to establish several self-sustaining Business Skill Development Centers, beginning in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Nizhny Novgorod. (Received November 18, 1994)
US WEST has been chosen as one of the implementors of the Russian Ministry of Telecommunications' large-scale "50x50" project which involves installing 50 digital switches throughout Russia and linking them with 50,000 kilometers of fiber optic cable. Estimated cost of completing the project is $40 billion dollars. U.S. West recently received a grant from USAID to establish corporate training centers in three Russian cities
U.S. West, working with its Russian partners, are upgrading the Russian telecommunications system. Denver-based U.S. West has invested in excess of $50 million in its NIS joint ventures. Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) is providing $20 million in political risk insurance to the Delta project. OPIC also provided a $125 million loan to the Russian Telecommunications Development Corporation, OPIC's largest loan to date.
q Motorola has formed an international joint venture in mobile satellite communications known as "Iridium"", which includes the Russian rocket manufacturer Khrunichev as a minority shareholder. Motorola will use Russian rocket engines to launch 21 telecommunications satellites by the year 1998. Motorola has also been cooperating with the Russian Academy of Science and other research institutes in developing semiconductors and microprocessors.
q IDB is working with a variety of Russian partner telecom companies. In conjunction with Russian partners IDB provides a full range of international telecom services, most prominently switched voice traffic and dedicated / private lines. Services are provided primarily to the U.S. Government, U.S. and European businesses such as oil companies, and foreign correspondents' offices.
q Direct Net Telecommunications has been providing high quality digital voice and data telecom service to the international community in Moscow since 1992. Direct Net maintains a major hub on the Moscow digital fiber optic network. In 1995 Direct Net is expanding its services beyond Moscow via its relationship with the Gazprom network and in cooperation with other Russian networks. In 1995, it will utilize the Intersputnik Indian Ocean satellite to provide service to select locations in Siberea and the Far East.
q 3M established a joint venture "3M - Lentelefonstroy" in St. Petersburg for manufacturing of telephone connectors.
q Belcom established a cellular division to service various major cities in the CIS. Arrangement of the first use of a Russian Raduga satellite to provide international telephone and fax services in Siberea for Western companies operating in Siberia and other remote regions of Russia.
q AT&T's Netherlands Division has set up a joint venture with the Russian Telecommunications Company "Dalnaya Svyaz" called "AT&T St. Petersburg" which produces transmissions systems, including modems and multiplexers, for use with fiber-optic lines.
AT&T formed a joint venture with Dalnaya Sviaz in St. Petersburg. The venture is called AT&T of St. Petersburg and will be responsible for the development, manufacturing and sales of transmission products.
Together with MGTS, AT&T formed a joint venture called Telmos. This operating venture offers local, long distance and international service to customers in Moscow and will grow to around 100,000 subscribers in 1994. Telmos has installed a 5ESS digital switch and fiber connection to various remote switching locations. The most important project is the $200 million contract signed in September 94 between AT&T, Rostelecom, MGTS and Telmos to build a new digital network for Moscow. This will rapidly expand Moscow's local and domestic long-distance service for businesses and residents, and improve the network's ability to handle international service.
In St. Petersburg, AT&T established a training center to provide training for Russian telecom specialists to maintain and operate 5ESS digital switching systems. In Moscow AT&T has built an international gateway and 2 satellite earth stations for Teleport, a joint stock company in which Rostelecom is the major shareholder. AT&T's international operations division has service agreements with Rostelecom and business overlay networks, making AT&T by far the biggest carrier for international traffic between Russia and the U.S. AT&T has built an earth station and will install an international gateway to provide AT&T world connection services. AT&T has contracts for telecom projects in Samara, Murmansk and the Russian Far East. AT&T-NCR contracted computer network projects with the Russian customs and the Central Bank. AT&T also has distribution agreements for their business communication products in Russia.
AT&T Bell laboratories has contracted the most prominent research institutes in Moscow and St. Petersburg for the services of 100 scientists and technicians. The agreements with the General Physics institute in Moscow and with Joffe Institute in St. Petersburg covers the services of researchers in the field of fiber optics. AT&T conducted negotiations to establish a research and development center in Russia and is selecting partners for local production of switching equipment.
q SFMT Inc., a U.S. telecommunications company, received a $60 million loan guaranty to a $123 million joint venture project from OPIC's Board. SFMT will provide national and international voice and data transmission services on a Russia-wide basis. This project entails the establishment of SFMT-Rusnet and the expansion of Sovintel and Sovam Teleport, two existing companies. Together, these companies will provide national long distance and international voice services from individual city networks via SFMT-Rusnet's earth station network and the Sovintel international gateway switch
q Andrew Corporation and its St. Petersburg partners established METROCOM, a Russian-American joint stock company. The project is designing, developing, installing and operating a multi-channel distribution network to process signals for subscribers in the St. Petersburg metropolitan area. This $13 million venture constitutes the region's only comprehensive fiber-optics communications network.
Andrew's second venture in Russia received $8.4 million in insurance from OPIC. Together with state-owned Moscow Metro, Andrew Corp. established MACOMNET, a Russian limited liability company. This company is developing and installing a fiber optic telecommunications network for processing and transmitting data, voice communications and radio and television signals using tunnels, sites, buildings and premises of the Moscow metro. This is a $8.4 million project with a small control center in Moscow.
q OPIC signed an agreement for a preliminary financing commitment of $23.5 million and is to execute a $30 million political risk insurance contract with Seattle-based MIDCOM communications. MIDCOM has acquired 50% of Dal Telecom International, a regional telephone company serving the Russian Far East, and plans to expand phone service to thousands of people who have never had a phone.
International Business Communications System's project in Russia involves the establishment and operation of a satellite telecommunications network for the use of mainly private Russian business entities in mineral-rich regions of rural Russia. OPIC is providing insurance in the amount of $25.3 million for this project.
q Direct Net and the Russian company Business Sviaz have agreed to operate a satellite earth station, called Arbat, located in Moscow. Direct Net, a Newport Beach, California company, utilizes Arbat to provide international private telecommunications and data services from Moscow to the U.S. OPIC is providing insurance in the amount of $477,000 for this $1 million project, which will create $630,000 in U.S. exports. Direct Net's facility is located in the Moscow Major's Building.
q International TelCell: This project will establish and operate a wireless cable television system in Moscow. OPIC is providing $44 million in insurance for this project.
International TelCell Group: This Connecticut small business is operating a commercial television, radio and communications network in Tblisi which will broadcast cable television programming to individual and collective customers in Georgia. OPIC is providing $7.6 million in insurance for this $7.2 million project. The project maintains an office centrally located in Tblisi.
In addition to insuring TelCell's cable television Georgia project, OPIC is also providing $6 million in insurance for a similar project in Uzbekistan.
q American Chamber of Commerce Telecom Committee:
U.S. telecommunications companies doing business in Russia have joined forces in creating the American Chamber of Commerce Telecommunications Subcommittee. The purpose of the subcommittee is to represent and promote the interests of American telecommunications companies in Russia.
The first action taken by the committee was to issue a White Paper detailing the situation on the Russian telecommunications market. The subcommittee has recently approved an action plan which calls for meetings ( fact-finding missions) to various areas in Russia in order to meet with local telecom companies and government officials. The first such "mission" has been scheduled for March 14 to go to Ekaterinburg to meet with government and private telecom representatives of the Urals. The subcommittee will also invite several telecom officials from the Russian government to speak before its members and plans to set up an "U.S. Telecom exposition" at the Russian telecom show in May.
q Brown University currently operates a two-way international satellite uplink between Brown and the Institute for Space Research (IKI) of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The aim is to provide a low cost state-of-the-art video conferencing service to assist US-Russian academic, scientific, and government exchange. It is the only non-profit link of its kind.
To date, users of the Russian Link have included US doctors training Russian physicians in Family Medicine, scientists collaborating on joint space research, an FCC international video conference, and a US-Russian "Space Camp" student exchange. Brown is also a site on the NASA ViTS (Video Teleconferencing System) network providing US-Russian video conferencing for over 40 NASA sites nationwide.
Building on a more than five year working relationship with the Institute for Space Research and other Russian universities and research centers, several efforts at Brown are now planning coursework based on integrated models for distance learning realized within an existing network.
q The Russian Committee of the Diocese of New York, Episcopal Church,USA, is developing an E-mail link via existing internet connectivity with:
a. the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church offices in Moscow. The first $1000 donated for the project was "ripped off" by a sham Moscow internet provider; we are now raising funds, and supervisory capacity to be certain the wire and modem get placed with right provider this time. Hardware and technical support are contributed by the Russian Committee in NYC.
b. St. Alexy's Hospital, Moscow, will also be provided an E-mail linkage to the Russian Committee's group on social welfare. This will support the existing linkage between St. Alexy's and the NY Epis. Diocese which is beginning to train lay persons in Moscow how to do social action programs in Moscow, ie soup kitchens, homeless shelters, etc.Tbis same link will allow physicians at St. Alexy's to have direct, ongoing relationships with a "telementoring" team at several different NYC hospital sites.
q Citizens' Information Initiative is a Russian NGO which was funded by Eurasia Foundation in August 1994 to establish an information center in the city of Irkutsk, Eastern Siberia.
The Irkutsk Information Center provides information and contacts for Russian professionals who request such information. We work closely with a local Relcom access provider, and the bulk of our communication and information gathering is done via this Relcom-Internet link.
Citizens' Information Initiative has a US Director who operates from a Portland, Oregon office. This Director seeks information mostly via E-mail and mentors from the US to send to Irkutsk. The Director also collaborates on various development projects with the Irkutsk Center staff via electronic mail.
Our center has arranged professional exchanges and business training programs. We have assisted the Irkutsk local government in obtaining information required for municipal projects, and we have assisted countless others -- both Irkutsk and US professionals --- to connect.
Both the Irkutsk Center staff and the US Director in Oregon actively seek out and assist US businesses and organizations that wish to operate in Irkutsk. Again, this outreach is conducted mainly via Relcom-Internet links.
If it were not for the medium of computer communication, our project could not exist. Regular telephone communication is prohibitively expensive, and lines are obsolete and unreliable in Irkutsk. Faxes get through to Irkutsk only rarely, unless the recipient has a satellite connection ---- and, again, these are prohibitively expensive as a means of daily communication.
Computer-mediated communication has enabled our daily collaboration and cooperation from across the world. This once distant and obscure heart of Eurasian Siberia now participates in a dialogue with the world. Communications media are said to be morally neutral: they are simply tools, but they can be liberating ones if used for expanding human potential. Measured by such a standard, computer-mediated communication has been for us an invaluable instrument for the expansion of possibilities where once there were seemingly insurmountable limits. Look for an East Siberia section soon to be added to "Russian Friends and Partners" on World Wide Web. Citzinfo@teleport.com
q The Communications Exchange Program (CEP) aims to foster links between professionals in the former Soviet Union and the United States, in telecommunications as well as journalism, advertising, public relations and opinion research.
Here is information about a couple of things the Art Pattison Communications Exchange Program is involved in, related to telecommunications links with Russia:
We are in the midst of organizing "New Media for a New World 95-96," which we hope will bring together partners in international on-line news ventures. Information is available via the World Wide Web site mentioned above.
We are an all-volunteer group based in the Seattle area, operating as a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization.
To contact the Communications Exchange Program, send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, call 206-292-8255 (David Endicott), fax 206-624-4953 or write to Art Pattison Communications Exchange Program, 26411 218th Ave. SE, Maple Valley, Wash. 98038.
( The "Enviro_Links" project is a technology demonstration program coordinated by the University of Alabama in Huntsville that provides for the installation of computing and communication equipment in both the Rostov region of Russia and the Tennessee Valley region of the United States. Through this effort, students and teachers in both regions are able to exchange environmentally related information with one another via the INTERNET, a world- wide combination of computer networks and is poised to be expanded throughout North America and Russia. This electronic linkage project was also designed to support the development of environmental education centers in the Rostov region and throughout Russia as part of an on-going partnership between the Tennessee Valley region and the Rostov region.
Through cooperation with CEC International Partners (formerly Citizen Exchange Council), a New York based not-for-profit organization, U. S. based corporations were sought to assist in the placing of necessary hardware with the two regions. A Huntsville, Alabama based company, Crystal Data International, donated personal computers for use in the project and were placed in several locations in within the Rostov Region in October, 1992. These computers are currently being used to generate and send electronic mail via the Internet, albeit on a somewhat unreliable basis. Hence the need for an investigation of new and innovative telecommunications mechanisms.
In early 1994, "Enviro_Links" project personnel began evaluating what type of hardware and software would be required at participating locations to enable more reliable links as well as developing methodology needed for the use of any new telecommunication links. The use of existing cellular telephone and/or satellite networks to facilitate these electronic links were investigated as well as newly emerging forms of electronic communication such as Amateur Radio Packet Networks. In March, 1994 five packet radio sites were established in the Rostov Region as a demonstration of how packet radio technology can be used to connect areas with unreliable telephone linkages. These sites are now being used in support a Russian - American student exchange and environmental research program called "Eco-Bridge" currently supported by USIA. Cox@atmos.uah.edu
( IBCS/RUSTEL - Partners in Russian Telecommunications
International Business Communication Systems, Inc. (IBCS) is a U.S. corporation developing an international network of local private telephone companies in Russia and other newly independent states (NIS) of the former Soviet Union. These local companies deliver high quality digital telecommunications services, primarily through satellite and wireless technologies to the key industrial regions of the NIS.
In Russia IBCS's operating partner is Rustel, a licensed Russian telecommunications company. IBCS holds a 50% equity position in Rustel, with the remaining 50% jointly owned by numerous Russian partners including the Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs of Russia and Rostelecom. Rustel provides modern telecommunications services primarily to domestic and western business customers throughout the Russian Federation. The company concentrates on the provincial capitals where the potential for economic development is great because of an abundance of industrial and natural resources.
The backbone of the IBCS/Rustel telecommunications network is a series of Telecommunications Centers strategically located throughout Russia. These centers connect clients to a digital earth station via terrestrial lines or wireless last mile solutions to provide worldwide voice, fax, data and video services. These telecommunications centers also include small business centers which are open to the public on a fee-for-use basis. Rustel Telecommunications Centers are currently operating in Ufa, Perm, Tyumen, Krasnoyarsk, Ekaterinburg, Ukhta, and Moscow. Over the next five years, IBCS/ Rustel network will expand to 80 Telecommunications centers throughout Russia.
q NASA Space Biomedical Program: The Telecommunications aspect of the NASA space Biomedical Program will be carried out in two phases. The first phase will link the two facilities of the Russian Institute for Biomedical Problems to NASA research laboratories in the U.S. The type of information exchanged will deal primarily with medical problems related to space flight and also the effects of extreme environmental conditions. In the second phase, as many as 20 of the leading clinical research hospitals, which deal with a variety of diseases, could be joined to NASA's telecommunications network, which includes the full range of telecommunications services, including teleconferencing, voice conferencing, telephone, fax, and e-mail. It may be possible to join the 18 diabetes centers to U.S. counterparts via NASA's network or to facilitate the speedy inclusion of the approximately 20 leading Russian clinical research hospitals to the network.
q NASA is continuing to implement communications services in Russia in support of our joint projects in human space flight, space science, the mission to planet earth, and aeronautics. Currently, NASA has already established capabilities including voice, voice conferencing, video conferencing, fax, e-mail and data exchange with major space facilities in Russia.
q The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) uses civil signals from U.S. Global Positioning System (GPS) and Russian Global Orbiting Navigation Satellite System (GLONASS) to expedite early operational implementation of a satellite-based communication / navigation / surveillance (CNS) air traffic management system endorsed by International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) member states.
q In support of the modernization of the Russian Air Traffic Management (ATM), the FAA is using a Rockwell International Hughes GPS/GLONASS demonstration project, recently funded under the Nunn-Lugar defense conversion program, to demonstrate the economic and technical benefits of transitioning quickly to a satellite-based CNS/ATM system in Russia.
q Linking Russian Hospitals to the U.S. on E-Mail: Included under GCC Health committee umbrella, the U.S. Center for Disease Control and the Russian State Committee for Sanitary and Epidemiological Surveillance have an agreement to share information on, and specifically to create a data base for, communicable diseases.
Another important area for information exchange identified by the Health Committee is diabetes. The responsibility on the Russian side for coordinating U.S.- Russian cooperation in this area has been delegated to Dr. Aleksandr Amentov of the Russian Medical Academy of the Post-graduate Institute. Dr. Amentov operates 18 diabetes centers in different hospitals throughout Russia which are linked together by e-mail that uses IREX 400 protocols. The Russian Medical Academy presently cooperates with the Pittsburgh and Minnesota Diabetic Centers
Perhaps there is way to link the 18 Russian hospitals to U.S. counterparts on e-mail. The information that could be exchanged via e-mail would have to be limited to diabetes but could include other priority areas such as health education; promotion, prevention, and control of infectious diseases; tuberculosis treatment and control; as well as Health Reform Policy.
( Under a cooperative agreement with the US Agency for International Development (USAID), The American International Health Alliance, Inc. (AIHA) has established twenty-one health care partnerships in ten of the New Independent States (NIS) of the former Soviet Union. These partnerships allow American providers to assist their counterparts in the NIS to address significant mortality and morbidity issues, improve health care organization and introduce market-oriented solutions to hospital and health system delivery and finance problems. In addition to working with their specific institutional counterparts, AIHA partnerships are working with related ministries of health, local and regional health system administrations, and schools of health sciences to ensure that critical areas of health education and administration are adequately addressed at these higher institutional levels as well, and that the capacity to carry out other developmental assistance efforts is enhanced.
As part of its technical assistance program, AIHA has worked continuously to improve communications and the flow of information to the NIS by taking advantage of the capabilities of the Internet. By providing computers, modems, and Internet accounts, AIHA has enabled health professionals at each of the partnership institutions to become integrated with the worldwide medical community. AIHA is presently exploring the possibilities of using more advanced technologies to develop teleconferencing and telemedicine applications.
In addition to the partnership-wide strategy currently being developed, several of the partnerships have developed their own solutions to closing the information/communications gap. Specifically, a partnership linking the Pavlov Medical Institute in St. Petersburg, Russia with Georgia Baptist Medical Center in Atlanta, Georgia has implemented a teleradiology link that enables health professionals in Russia to consult with their colleagues in Georgia using medical images transferred through telephone lines. Similarly, a partnership between Emergency Hospital in Yerevan, Armenia and Boston University Medical Center has initiated a monthly teleconferencing session to provide ongoing training for nurses and other health professionals in Armenia. Other partnerships, including one between institutions in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Kyyiv, Ukraine, have been working with the National Library of Medicine to provide access to Medline and other medical information resources.
To specifically address the information needs of the partnerships, AIHA has contracted with the National Public Health and Hospital Institute to create an Internet-based clearinghouse on health care and technical assistance in the former Soviet Union The primary mission of the AIHA Clearinghouse (also known as NISHEALTH) is to provide information support to the AIHA partnership program, to the broader community of health professionals in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, and to representatives from other technical assistance organizations. The Clearinghouse provides information on a variety of subjects, including funding opportunities, translated educational materials, and updates on the activities of technical assistance projects currently involved in the NIS. One of the most critical elements of the Clearinghouse is the NISMEDINFO Project--a concentrated effort to provide up-to-date clinical and health policy information to health professionals throughout the NIS and CEE. Through NISMEDINFO, NIS/CEE health professionals receive a weekly digest of abstracts from major Western medical journals, including the Journal of the American Medical Association. NISMEDINFO also provides full-text educational materials, including the Association for Practitioners in Infection Control (APIC) Curriculum for Infection Control Practice, the CDC~s Morbidty/Mortality Weekly Reports, and a guide to public health resources on the Internet developed specifically for NIS users. All of the information produced through the Clearinghouse is provided on the Internet. Since many users in the NIS have limited Internet access, all information is available through electronic mail. Aiha@igc.apc.org
( Analysis of Disease Occurrence in the Bryansk Oblast of Russia, using the Technique of Anamorphoses (Density Equalizing Map Projections): A proposed collaborative project between scientists in the U.S. and Russia will use advanced computing and telecommunications techniques to investigate the geographic distribution of cases of disease in the Bryansk Oblast of Russia, which was affected by the Chernobyl accident. Funding will be requested from an international foundation.
A computer algorithm for anamorphoses (density equalizing map projections) was published by Gusein-Zade and Tikunov, and independently implemented in a SUN Sparc 10 workstation at Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory (LBL). A statistical analysis which used the LBL program was successfully applied by Merrill in a epidemiological investigation of childhood cancer cases in four counties of California, USA. Similar techniques will be used to investigate the geographic distribution of disease in the Bryansk Oblast, using data provided by Akimenkov and his associates.
Intermediate and final results from the study, including graphic displays, will be publicly available on the World Wide Web (WWW) server at LBL. For details of the previous work, consult the following WWW URL: http://cedr.lbl.gov/pdocs/cdc9501/onepage.html
q In conjunction with IREX, USIA is planning to bring NIS scholars, NGOs and related professional and governmental groups in contact with one another and link them into international data banks via computer communications. For instance, a group of 60 Russian educators currently in the U.S. on a USIA program will be connected to their American colleagues and one another through an IREX E-mail network when they return to Russia at the close of this academic year. Under this grant, USIA will be purchasing computer equipment for public access E-mail stations in key professional and academic centers throughout the NIS. There will be an American trainer located at each of the centers to train other NIS trainers and to selectively distribute modems and e-mail accounts.
Under a USIA grant, the State University of New York, in conjunction with the Association for International Education - a Russian non-profit organization, has established the Moscow Center for distance learning at the Moscow Institute of Electronics and Mathematics. The first project of this center was a pilot program to grant a Master of Science Degree in computer science from SUNY to eight Russian students who are communicating with their American professors via video tape, internet and e-mail.
Under another USIA grant, the General Motors Institute's School of Engineering created a video tape lecture series for Russian engineering, scientific, technical and business managers. A USIA post in Moscow subtitled in Russian all 72 lectures, which were then distributed to seven Russian institute and universities. One class has already graduated form the program, and received certificates from GMI.
A high school linkage program which links American and Russian high schools, has a component which sets up e-mail linkages, and purchases hardware and training for participating high schools. About half of the linkage partners are currently able to communicate with one another not only through person-to-person exchanges, but through e-mail.
USIA could build into all future partnership grants a requirement to leave behind a public access computer terminal for electronic communications at the close of an early phase of each institutional exchange program.
q The following is a partial list of some of the schools that are now on-line and telecommunicating with schools here in the US:
Grodno School #9 Grodno, Belarus email@example.com
Grodno School #30 Grodno, Belarus firstname.lastname@example.org
Moscow School #689 Moscow email@example.com
Gym. Museum School St. Petersburg firstname.lastname@example.org
A dissolved-oxygen water test kit was given to Grodno School #9. This kit will be used to monitor the heavily polluted Neman River which flows through Grodno. These test results will be monitored by students in both Grodno and my school. We hope to expand this ecological testing in the future.
The American Embassy in Minsk, Belarus is currently hosting a conference on telecommunications. The contact person there is Mr. Conrad Turner (email@example.com).
The Institute of New Technologies, in St. Petersburg, is getting a new Russia-wide network off the ground called RUNNET, the address is (http//www.imfo.ru/).
( U.S.-Russia Electronic Distance Education System (EDES):
Global (electronic) University (GU) (TM) consortium, a divisional activity of Global Systems Analysis and Simulation Association in the U.S.A. (GLOSAS/USA), seeks to improve quality and availability of international educational exchange through the use of telecommunication and information technologies. GLOSAS/USA is a New York publicly supported, non-profit, educa- tional service organization.
The Global University's main activity is to achieve global electronic education across national boundaries, serving and complementing existing distance education institutions with outlets and resources on a global scale, by developing a cooperative infrastructure and by bringing the powers and resources of telecommunications to ordinary citizens around the world. Another goal of GU is to empower under-served people of the Third World by giving them access to the educational excellence available at the institutions of the more developed. Students could access some of the world's finest resources with a far greater variety of educational philosophies, courses and instructional styles than they could ever encounter on a single campus. This project can then become a version of the 21st century Fulbright exchange program.
Over the past two decades GLOSAS/USA played a major role in extending the U.S. data communication networks to other countries, particularly to Japan. GLOSAS has conducted a number of "Global Lecture Hall" (GLH) (TM) videoconferences employing inexpensive media accessible to the less developed countries, interlinking over two dozen universities, ranging from Japan to Turkey, from Finland to New Zealand, and North and South America. These demonstrations have helped discover and overcome the technical, regulatory, economic and marketing impediments to the creation of a Global (electronic) University and build a network of leaders in the distance education movement. They have also generated considerable interest among various organizations around the world. International associates of GLOSAS are currently working on the establishment of Global Pacific University (GPU), Global Latin American University (GLAU) and Global European University (GEU).
GLOSAS is currently working to establish a U.S.-Russia Electronic Distance Education System (EDES) via various telecommunication media, with the Association of International Education (AIE) in Moscow which was recently established by the Ministry of Science, Higher Education and Technology Policy of the Russian Federation and GLOSAS/USA. Once in place, EDES will later become the Russian Electronic University, part of our Global University system founded by GLOSAS/USA.
Russian students will use EDES to access many distance educational courses offered by member schools of GU/USA, without coming to the U.S. or requiring their American instructors to travel to Russia. The students will be able to converse with American instructors and classmates at a distance, using such devices as audio, voice-mail, electronic mail, fax and slow-scan TV through a free of charge narrow band channel of INTELSAT's Project ACCESS. The plan will include the lease of a broad band (video) channel on INTELSAT satellites in subsequent years, thus permitting Russian students to receive American satellite courses directly at their homes. American (and later other nations') students will have equal opportunity to receive courses from universities and outstanding academicians in Russia.
This project will hopefully foster relationships between GU/USA member schools and educational institutions throughout NIS. Additionally, educational credentials from course offering countries in North America could fill a pressing economic need for employment of competent persons with firms seeking to establish businesses in the NIS. At the same time it could provide a much needed support system for scientists who are isolated from the current scientific literature and important meetings in their fields. Our project intends to offer a fundamental solution to the urgent needs of those countries in their transition to the new market-oriented economy and new society.
Currently, over 100 prominent schools contacted GU/USA to indicate their interest in this project. Some have already confirmed their participation. Apart from schools such as Agricultural Satellite Corporation, Brown University, Dartmouth College, George Washington University, National Technological University, University of Colorado, University of Hawaii, University of Maryland or University of Tennessee, GU/USA has also received expressions of interest from potential corporate sponsors such as IBM, Sun Microsystems, Apple Computer, DEC, US Sprint, INTELSAT and the World Bank. Our Russian partner AIE has over 20 school members in Russia. GLOSAS/USA has also received inquiries and proposals to join this project from Australia, Canada, Croatia, England, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Israel, Lithuania, Poland, Sweden, Ukraine, etc., making this an international project to help Russia and, later, other ex-communist countries.
Utilizing funds available from Japanese government, the World Bank plans to support Russia's establishment of a media center and electronic distance education activities, including the activities of AIE. The Bank may also utilize EDES for dissemination of bank policies and staff training, as well as for supplying the Russian public and educational institutions with educational materials required for their mastery of market economic principles.
GLOSAS/USA plans to approach Japanese government and industry for major funding of this project under the auspices of Japan's Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) program. The participation of the Japanese in such a project would be extremely valuable. Cooperative efforts in complex global undertak- ings that bring Europeans, Japanese, and U.S. resources together will be increasingly necessary and become the norm. Generous donations of services by major carriers enabled GLOSAS/USA to conduct almost a dozen "Global Lecture Hall" videoconferences free of charge. The support of SprintMail, a U.S. commercial electronic mail service, greatly facilitated the functioning of GLOSAS/USA members, scattered around the world, for coordination and proposal, report and paper writing.
Global education via satellite and other telecommunication media is the way towards the 21st century Age of Knowledge, laying a social infrastructure for global citizenship of the global village. Extending communications through a global network and sharing ideas and educational opportunities with other locations is of paramount interest. The exchange of knowledge among countries can make major contributions to world peace, helping to ease frictions, promoting joint research and development, and mutual exchange and understanding. Developments in global electronic education can transform education at all levels around the world, and can enrich and transform human society. Utsumi@columbia.edu
( More than 100 Florida schools are currently paired, but some relationships are stronger than others because of the difficulty in communicating due to issues on the NIS side. We are now focusing on trying to help NIS sister schools go on line. The work has been aided with 3 United States Information Agency Grants awarded to Dad County Schools (Miami, Florida).We have produced a bilingual Russian/English telecommunications resource guide to help particularly NIS schools learn how to go on line and use E mail. The linking organization in the NIS is International Movement of Educators for Peace and Understanding. Most Russian schools do not have the ability to telecommunicate while most Florida schools are on-line with free access to INTERNET. It has been very difficult to maintain the connections.
( Friends and Partners: United States and Russia building community on the Global Internet
"Friends and Partners" was designed to provide a framework of information and communications services. Therefore, the focus has been to help others develop and publish content material specific to their interests and areas of expertise. We enjoy active cooperation now with many organizations from the government sector, higher education, business and private industry, the 'third sector' and non-profit organizations, supra-governmental organizations (such as NATO) and private citizens. The challenge has been to help enable individuals from these groups become information providers and support them in their efforts - working across a wide variety of computer platforms, levels of network access, and computer/information literacy.
Whether dealing with such weighty topics as discussion of health care, environmental clean-up, telecommunications policy, and economic theory; facilitating pen pal exchange between children; helping individuals find long lost friends and relatives; or simply better understanding how people in other cultures live, play and work, the project has demonstrated how the global information infrastructure (arising from the Internet) can foster new human relationships and partnerships. The ability to transcend geographical, cultural and political boundaries, as well as barriers of race, gender, age and handicap, unleashes a potential for understanding and cooperation that perhaps has never been possible on this scale before. The ability to promote and nurture community which transcends such boundaries can yield enormous benefits.
Examples of these include the Center for Civil Society (a community of non-governmental organizations (NGOs)), Friends and Partners in Space (devoted to joint space activities), the FP Legal Server, the NIS Health Server, RASIN (building an economic model in Yoryevets), Global University, Alliance of Universities for Democracy, and several others. It is precisely by distributing such responsibility to these "experts" that the effort can systematically meet the needs of the various constituencies comprising the overall Friends and Partners community.
F&P URL: http://solar.rtd.utk.edu/friends/home.html
( US-NIS On-line Projects by the Center for Civil Society International
The Center for Civil Society International acts as an information clearinghouse for news and resources of interest to people engaged with civil society institution-building organizations in the NIS (Newly Independent States of the former USSR). CCSI disseminates information via a monthly newsletter, an electronic mailing list, and an on-line World Wide Web site.
The categories of files CCSI has uploaded to its site include:
CCSI has also uploaded its 1992 publication "Civil Society - USA: A Guide for Citizens of the NIS to Select American Organizations," which explains, mostly be example, the large role that associations and private voluntary organizations play in America. "Civil Society - USA" contains an essay describing the third sector in America, followed by detailed profiles of over 140 organizations, selected for their range of functions as well as their possible interest to citizens of Russia and the other countries of the NIS.
The URL for CCSI's home page is: http://solar.rtd.utk.edu/~ccsi/ccsihome.html
( - America's Development Foundation (ADF), Alexandria, Virginia, with the Moscow Research Center for Human Rights, to establish a network of nine regional affiliate human rights organizations throughout the Russian Federation.
( INFOMAG is non-profit, non-official, out-of-staff group organized by Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology. INFOMAG has a support from Russian Fund for Fundamental Investigations and from Russian Institute of Public Networks.
All materials distributed by INFOMAG are free of charge for users.
INFOMAG is accessible via following URL:
This is a dynamic exercise; the inventory will have to be periodically updated to reflect the constantly growing and changing links between our countries. The inventory of joint U.S./Russian information infrastructure initiatives illustrates the specific progress already achieved. These programs also show how we can work together so both nations benefit. Clearly, the opportunities are enormous and this is the time to expand our partnership for peace.