The third annual report “High-tech business in Russian regions-2020” dedicated to the examination of the development opportunities for regions and businesses amid crisis digital transformation has been published. The study was conducted by experts of the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, the Gaidar Institute and the Association of Innovative Regions of Russia with the support of the Interfax Group.
As noted by Stepan Zemtsov, Senior Researcher of the Innovation Economics Department of the Gaidar Institute, the principal author and editor of the report, the relevance of the non-resource business study increased significantly in 2020 amid falling oil prices, declining demand and the forced digital transformation of business as a response to quarantine measures. As part of anti-crisis measures, digitalization, robotics, introduction of online business models, expansion of distant work formats, will be a matter of priority for the coming years. Those businesses managing to successfully switch to digital transformation will survive and thrive after the crisis. 
The authors state in this study that a number of leading and the most successful regions in the development of high-tech business may become centers of long –term non-resource growth of the Russian economy, including Moscow, St. Petersburg, Moscow region, Tatarstan, Nizhny Novgorod, Sverdlovsk, Chelyabinsk, Tyumen regions and some other RF subjects. The report presents the final typology of the regions according to conditions and results of high-tech development. The described differences between the regions in terms of digital inequality, Net-Ready, development of high-tech business, digitalization support practices and startups are significant, but now, in times of crisis, these differences became a proof of survival and economic growth in the future.
The report presents conclusions of annual monitoring, including a review of the personnel capacity in the regions, institutional conditions, infrastructure, public procurement, high-tech exports and tax revenues. A separate part is devoted to the development of startups with their potential to be the platform for long-term post-crisis development.
By the projection of experts, consequences of the current crisis can badly hit the high-tech business in 2020. In particular, public procurements were important for high-tech business while many of them have been frozen for the next few months. Many businesses (auto and aircraft industry, air transport) are focused on consumer demand, which has dramatically dropped. However, pharmaceuticals, electronics, medical products, ICT, R&D, education and healthcare can still win.
The authors of the study believe that a different economy awaits Russia after the crisis if it is possible to create conditions for digital transformation and industry 4.0. However, such crises last usually longer and harder because it will take time to find new solutions. Therefore, experts prepared several thematic reviews describing the possibilities for regions to adapt to digital economy by developing STEAM education (science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics), supporting information technologies, and establishing corporate venture funds. Best regional practices related to digitalization support have been described.