But several factors conspired to create a slow start for the Russian technology sector. The technology know-how was trapped in bloated, inefficient state companies and bureaucracies. And although many of those firms have been privatized, they have been stubbornly slow in adopting the latest information technology to drive down costs and boost productivity. “It will take a very long time before Gazprom has information systems comparable to Shell,” says Karachinsky, who has a number of contracts with subsidiaries of the state-owned natural gas monopoly. … And therein lies the biggest challenges to the development of an entrepreneurial business culture in Russia, even in sectors like high-tech that are relatively free of government interference or the unwanted attentions of expansion-minded corporate oligarchs. In theory, all that’s needed is talent and investment capital, both of which are plentiful in Russia. But as long as huge rewards can be earned buying and selling natural resource assets, the most skilled and ambitious Russians are probably not going to opt for the hard work, uncertainty and long time required to build a business from scratch.