Russia is set to leap-frog onto the list of the world's top ten leaders in information technology through a groundbreaking government program that will put the IT industry on an accelerated development track.

Founders say the initiative will systematically leverage Russia's historical technical superiority to break the dependency on energy exports as the country's principal source of national income.

At 25 per cent annual growth and with software exports growing at between 40 and 50 per cent annually, IT is already outpacing every other sector of the economy.

The government will add impetus through a comprehensive tax and legal reform. It will include free economic zones and the creation of a national network of technoparks to replicate the success of California's Silicon Valley and India's Bangalore.

"With the right push IT can become Russia's next natural resource," said Leonid Reiman, Minister of Information Technology and Communications (Mininformsvyaz), who is spearheading the government effort.

"IT will catalyse other industries and become a key engine of national economic and social development."

Mr Reiman will put the government's plan on foreign display for the first time at the eight annual Russian Economic Forum in London on April 10-12.