The trend of digitalization continues to gain pace throughout the world. The Russian government also considers the “digital economy” a key national task and has announced detailed implementation plans. In this context, the National Technology Initiative (NTI) was adopted in April 2016 and Technet Roadmap 2035 set up in February 2017. Digital transformation is important for Russia as it aims to fundamentally reform its economic structure and raise industrial competitiveness. However, the current sanctions against Russia have acted as barriers to technological cooperation with the West. Meanwhile, the development of 4th industries is one of the major pillars on which Korea has established its new economic development policy. The government has actively pursued international cooperation in these fields. Against this backdrop, cooperation in the digital economy between Korea and Russia is both feasible and likely to contribute to sustainable relations. Both Korea and Russia seek to develop digital infrastructure, conduct joint research, establish startups and jointly enter third markets. Detailed joint policies and programs must be prepared on both sides to complete this digital transformation and produce successful bilateral cooperation in the digital sector. Technological cooperation could be possible in the areas of artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain technology, 5G infrastructure, big data, cyber security, etc. Cooperation will also be necessary in the new markets created by 4th industrial technologies.
The lessons learned from China’s and Italy’s cooperation with Russia indicate that national policy and mechanisms for bilateral cooperation are necessary. Therefore, we suggest the conclusion of a “joint digital economic initiative” between Korea and Russia, based on which a roadmap can be formulated. As leaders on both sides have agreed on cooperation in the 4th industries, it is now time to design more specific cooperation projects and establish relevant institutions.