Every year Russian companies print abroad newspapers, magazines and books to the sum of about 300,000,000 dollars, Deputy Head of Russia's Press Ministry Vladimir Grigoryev said at a press conference with RIA Novosti devoted to the beginning of Russia's first project to produce modern printing presses for issuing coloured newspapers.
Grigoryev said that one of the main reasons for printing Russian editions abroad was "lack of sufficient amount of modern competitive equipment in Russia's printing enterprises." The Russian Press Ministry has repeatedly conducted meetings, for example, with Western Germany's largest printing concerns, he said. As a result, it obtained a joint project, Sputnik, on joint production of modern newspaper-printing presses. The project will be fulfilled by the Poligrafmash design and production centre /Rybinsk/, Russia's enterprise producing printing presses, and the German Heidelberg concern. The Russian party will produce the equipment with the German one being its seller.
Grigoryev believes such cooperation is "an evolutionary step", which will allow Russia to produce competitive printing equipment. The Russian Press Ministry does not only support the project but will also provide any assistance for its realisation.
The Russian-German Sputnik project envisages production of modern printing presses, Mercury, in Russia. Accordingly, Poligrafmash and Heidelberg have already launched production of roll offset presses to issue coloured newspapers with the total circulation of 35,000 copies. This is what Werner Albrecht, a member of the Heidelberg enlarged board, present at the meeting, told journalists.
He expressed hope that this equipment would be in demand not only in Russia but also in other countries.
The prime cost of such equipment will significantly differ from that of its western analogues. According to expert estimates, the price of a Mercury press produced in Russia will total about 5,000,000 dollars while the same press produced in the USA and European countries cost 10,000,000-15,000,000 dollars.