Today Gref announced the formation of 6 special economic zones. I was asked to get involved with a putative bid in Academ Gorodok in Novosibirsk which failed and with the Dubna effort which subsequently succeeded and two others that never got off the ground in Moscow. I turned down all the invitations as it was clear that the real reasons behind the bids were either fantastically idealistic (i.e. had not a cats chance in hell of succeeding) or were designed to assist companies that had political clout to make money on a. real estate and b. by lowering taxes on already profitable businesses or c. assist high profile unprofitable businesses compete unfairly against lower profile profitable ones (hint: if the CEO drives a new Merc and you lose $2mn+ a year the formula should return an ERROR.
It would be fair to say that Zelenograd SEZ will not assist micro-electronics in Russia nor will Dubna assist nuclear and physics technologies (sic). Dubna will find a way to build an offshore programming center which will fail to challenge Bangalore and Zelenograd will become the center for the manufacture assembly of PC's, notebooks and servers.
But the best job to get is the real estate developer. Funnily that was never on offer.
BTW my mood and the weather are in lock step and I will retain my heightened level of cynicism for one more month until I run for the sun.