Moscow—A seven-story cube of glass, concrete, and solar panels rises out of a grassy field on the outskirts of Moscow. Dubbed “the Hypercube,” it’s the first completed building of the Skolkovo Innovation Center, intended to serve as Russia’s version of Silicon Valley. In less than two years, throngs of creative workers are expected to fill the Hypercube’s offices, ice rink, and nearby cafes. The original plan even provided for a weather-controlled dome rising over the complex, though it was eventually deemed too expensive and scrapped.

The Skolkovo Fund president, billionaire Viktor Vekselberg, hopes the project will stop the brain drain of the nation’s most talented individuals. “Many of our leading scientists and specialists work abroad and not in Russia. With the face of Skolkovo, let’s put an additional buffer, a barrier to this process,” he said in 2011.

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