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Stuck in 1990s: why there will be no breakthrough in Belarusian microelectronics

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Belarusian state TV channel ONT showed "Belarusian developments" in fact made by Texas Instruments/screenshot of video 

Lukashenka's idea to bring the Belarusian microelectronics to a new level is a failure, while the $1.5 billion Russian loan will not be enough even for the necessary equipment, an engineer of a Belarusian company told this Euroradio.
He also explained what's wrong with the Belarusian microelectronics and why Lukashenka's comment about Belarusian microchips being "just a little bit bigger" is ridiculous.

"We need specialists with foreign experience. How to lure them in?"

"A microchip is like a human brain. It is needed to process and convert signals. Every electronic device that we use at home, and at work, has a chip. They all have their own functions and sizes, depending on the application," says engineer Uladzimir (name changed).

No country in the world is ready for import substitution of microcircuits, especially without normal relations with the outside world, Uladzimir emphasizes.

Some miracles of Belarusian import substitution turned into memes / banana.by

Still, Lukashenka is adamant and Russia has promised a $1.5 billion loan for import substitution programs. The problem is that the money is not even enough to purchase the necessary modern equipment.

Belarusian electric truck / BELTA

What can we do in microelectronics, then? Uladzimir says that this sphere in Belarus got stuck in the 1990s.

"Today's developments of the Belarusian engineers do not involve a single component produced by Integral. Technically, they cannot perform the functions expected from the devices. We had good prospects in the development of electric transport, but, alas, now all this has been gradually phased out".

Belarus has already encountered problems because of the sanctions. The cost and equipment delivery terms to Belarus immediately increased. 

"Nobody ships anything directly. It's still possible to bring components via China, but it can take seven to eight weeks, whereas before it took two to three weeks. The prices have gone up by 30-40%. The private sector is pulling out its production". 

Because of problems with supplies, plants, both military and those producing refrigerators, can stand idle. It is impossible to get everything inside Belarus, our source emphasized. China could help. However, it's unclear whether it would risk contacting the sanctioned country.

"Chinese factories are dependent to this or that degree on American technology. And China, which for more than a decade has been pursuing a total import substitution program in order to get rid of American technology, still has not managed to do so. If the U.S. tells the Chinese factories that they will cut them off from their technology for cooperation with Belarus and Russia, they will stop production. We do not have that kind of market volume for China to stand up to the U.S.," concludes Uladzimir.

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