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Putin spotlights Kaspersky as Russia’s potential answer to Elon Musk

The Russian president added that Kaspersky was not the only frontrunner

MOSCOW, March 5. /TASS/. World-renowned programmer and entrepreneur Yevgeny Kaspersky can certainly serve as an example of Russia’s tech pioneers, and is a leader in his field, Russian President Vladimir Putin told TASS in an interview for its project entitled "20 Questions with Vladimir Putin".

"We have Kaspersky. I believe that he is really good in his line of business," Putin said when asked whom Russia might offer up to be on par with Silicon Valley’s Elon Musk. Putin added that Kaspersky was not the only frontrunner.

He pointed out that the head of the Kaspersky Lab was a true leader in his industry and his company might have scored far greater achievements, if it hadn’t come up against artificial hindrances in other countries. "If the screws hadn’t been tightened, if competition hadn’t been artificially stifled, it would have been much better," Putin pointed out.

When asked whether the name Elon Musk rang a bell, Putin replied that it certainly did. However, the head of state noted that he was not familiar with the popular meme: "How do you like it, Elon Musk?" Delving into the prospects of building a counterpart to Musk’s Tesla electric-powered automobiles, Putin recalled that businessman Mikhail Prokhorov had promised to deliver on that score someday.

"He promised, he showed it to me. I even went for a ride in it. But this hasn’t been working out for him so far," Putin said.

Nuclear power, defense industries demonstrate top-notch performance

Putin turned the spotlight on Russia’s successes in the high-tech sector. "In the high-tech field and in the nuclear sphere we’ve been making great strides. We’ve beaten the competition, outperformed everyone, we're the world's largest manufacturer of nuclear units for power plants. Not weapons, mind you. This is high-tech, state-of-the-art technology," he said. "And if we look at military equipment, say military aviation, we are really on top here." Such advanced weapon systems as the missile system Iskander and the laser system Peresvet were created by teams of young Russian scientists, he recalled.

"We'll continue moving forward as well in the civilian sector," he promised. "We already have our own pharmaceutical products, very good ones. And so on. Step by step, it's gaining momentum."

Kaspersky’s US ordeal

Kaspersky Lab is a Russian IT security company and provider of high-tech solutions for protection against cyber threats. Kaspersky Antivirus is one of its main products.

In September 2017, US government offices and agencies were ordered to get rid of Kaspersky software, because, the regulators claimed, it put American national security at risk. Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov slammed the US authorities’ treatment of Kaspersky Lab as a politicized ploy. The Russian authorities described these steps taken by the US government as a crusade to hamstring a competitor.

Episode 9 of the video interview is available at