Although there is considerably more display production in Russia and Ukraine than in the United States, there is not a world shortage for the display technology (STN) now being manufactured there. However, this seems to be an appropriate technology for mass production at this time in these countries because there is a large internal need for the goods and services that these displays can more than adequately support. Research and development in LCD materials and their electro-optic effects now exist in the FSU to make state-of-the-art displays. While technical capability exists for this technology in Russia and Ukraine, transfer to mass production depends mostly on advancements in their semiconductor industry, which seems to be divided between Belarus and Russia. Furthermore, of course, progress in any technology depends sensitively on the stability of their socioeconomic environment, now in a very dynamic state.

The WTEC panel was impressed by FSU scientists' continued pursuit of research in the near vacuum that has resulted from reduced funding and lack of access to published literature, their knowledge of natural phenomenology, and their optimistic plans for the future in the face of current difficult conditions. Because of language and cultural barriers, collaborations in basic research remain the best avenue with the least number of pitfalls for interacting with scientists and engineers of the former Soviet Union, of which there appear to be many more than their industries can support. Internships for FSU students now studying business and economics in industrial corporations outside the FSU also seem to be a long-term, but potentially fruitful, way to build their global effectiveness in a market economy.

The FSU is undergoing an expensive industrial revolution from a nearly exclusively military-commodities enterprise to a more balanced industrial-military-commodities one. This is a nontrivial task for countries where internal distribution channels are hard to identify; telecommunications and mass-media communications either do not yet exist or are not yet globally competitive, and marketing tools are still in the very early stages of development. A key service that is now lacking, but whose installation would immeasurably assist FSU adjustments to a market economy, and to each other, is telecommunications. As pointed out by Pitroda (1993), "Politically, economically, socially and logistically, telecommunications lies at the very heart of progress."

Published: December 1994; WTEC Hyper-Librarian