Russia’s Smart City inmates will be “safe and comfortable” technocrats promise


by Rhoda Wilson, Expose News:

Last week Russia hosted an international “Smart City” forum to promote more digitalisation in urban areas.  For its neighbour Kazakhstan, the new digital world order has already arrived.

The 4th International Forum for the Development and Digital Transformation of Cities was held in Russia from 26 to 28 July. The Forum’s theme was ‘Smart City, Smart Country’ and was considered a key event in the digital transformation of cities.  The conference was sponsored by the majority state-owned bank Sberbank.


Participants were expected to exchange experiences with leading Russian and international experts in the digital transformation of state and municipal government, construction, education, healthcare, tourism, transportation, road construction and operation, housing and communal services, and energy.

Since Russia’s Smart City project began five years ago, more than two hundred cities have introduced digital solutions.  Headed by the Ministry of Construction, the Smart City project aims to develop “an effective urban management system, creating safe and comfortable conditions for citizens, and increasing the competitiveness of Russian cities.”

According to Edward Slavsquat, “Russia’s capital is arguably the ‘smartest’ city in the country – and not just because of its safe and convenient biometric payment system. Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin has pledged to introduce ‘genetic passports’ and even ‘implanted medical digital devices’, which can be used to calculate insurance payments for his city’s lucky residents. These are just a few of the exciting features included in Sobyanin’s ‘Moscow 2030’ project.”

Moscow is the first city in the world where a facial recognition system for fare payment is being used on a large scale. The biometric payment system – payment made by facial recognition – was trialled in Moscow’s subway system in 2021.  By July 2022, most stations had one to two Face Pay turnstiles installed and the Deputy Mayor of Moscow, Maxim Liksutov, said that after upgrading the turnstiles on the subway, at least 200 more would be able to accept payment using biometrics.  Face Pay was also being scaled up on other modes of transport. It had already been tested on local self-driving buses.

Edward Slavsquat: Safe and Convenient, 29 July 2023 (2 mins)

“Maybe some of you feel uncomfortable about transitioning into a payment system that automatically deducts digital rubles from your Sber account when a camera recognises your face? But why would this bother you? China is already doing it – and Russia is doing it better, according to Liksutov,” Slavsquat wrote.

In December 2022, a bill on biometrics was rushed through the Duma – the lower house of the Federal Assembly of Russia – and signed into law.  Just days before, the pro-Putin conservative outlet Tsargrad had published an article:

Sharp criticism of the bill on biometrics was voiced at a public conference held on 14 December in Moscow dedicated to this issue. The general opinion of the speakers was that the law on biometrics is deeply unconstitutional and creates the basis for building a “digital concentration camp” in Russia.

The conference participants pointed to the true authors of the bill on biometrics. It fully meets the recommendations of such a globalist and deeply hostile structure to Russia as the World Bank. These recommendations are contained in a 2018 World Bank document titled ‘Competition in the Digital Age: Policy Implications for the Russian Federation‘.

The World Bank recommended that Russia make public services fully digital, transform the education and healthcare system into a digital form. The World Bank recommendations have already spilled over into recommendations given by Russian government agencies.

Much Worse Than QR Code: The State Duma Will Consider Tomorrow A Bill That The World Bank Has Developed, Tsargrad, 19 December 2022

“In its 2018 report, the World Bank said Russian financial institutions were ‘driving the adoption of a national digital ID system’ in the country.  The World Bank was particularly impressed by Russia’s trailblazing ‘biometric solutions’, for example, ‘the biometric identification platform recently piloted by Rostelecom that enables clients to open a bank account remotely’,” Slavsquat wrote.  He continued:

The report urged policymakers to create a regulatory framework that would “foster partnerships in the digital finance ecosystem, including the public sector.”

The “biometric identification platform” piloted by Rostelecom is known as the Unified Biometric System (UBS). Created in 2018 in partnership with the Bank of Russia, UBS was initially billed as a “safe and convenient” way for Russians to remotely open bank accounts or apply for loans.

The bill that Putin signed into law on 29 December paves the way for UBS to be used in all aspects of life – what you might call a “national digital ID system.”

… this “new” biometrics law is universally hated and despised in Russia.

Safe, convenient & for your protection, Edward Slavsquat, 18 January 2023

Russia is not the only country in the region that is pushing forward with digitalisation.  In June, Geopolitics & Empire published an article stating that the new digital world order has already arrived in Kazakhstan: “Kazakhstan is a highly digitised society.  The government has almost all the information about its citizens.”

It is an 82 per cent cashless economy, and the authorities strongly encourage the population to stop using cash, and switch to digital transactions instead. Very few people in the Central Asian nation use credit or debit cards when they go to grocery stores. Without a smart phone, life in Kazakhstan can be extremely difficult.

Almost all banking platforms in Kazakhstan have been integrated into Kazakhstan’s Electronic Government Service. In order to get an access to this government-owned platform, one must first get an identification number at the public service centre where they present their ID cards.

“The whole system is based on the identification number. It is the equivalent of the social security number in the United States,” [Kazakh Minister of Digital Development, Innovation and Aerospace Industry Bagdat] Mussin explains.

“We know everything. When a woman gives a birth, a hospital just needs to click the button and we, the government, will get all the information about her and her child. Then the identification number of the newborn will automatically be forwarded to the social security department, and the government will pay the woman money into her bank account. It is a financial support for giving a birth,” Mussin explains.

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