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Russian continue to compete with the west, this time by introducing its own AI chatbot.

Sberbank, Russia’s largest banking institution, announced the release and testing phase of the nation’s first ChatGPT competitor named GigaChat. Sberbank’s CEO described GigaChat as “a breakthrough for the larger universe of Russian technology.”

“It’s important to note that GigaChat can be used not only by those who love to experiment with new technologies, but also by students, and even researchers for serious scientific work,” Sberbank’s CEO said.

The Russian chatbot rival is said to be able to answer questions, hold a conversation, and write program code to develop software.

What sets it apart, according to Sberbank, is the AI tool’s ability to generate both text and images, unlike ChatGPT which only can generates text.

GigaChat is initially being released to a small community of testers who can sign up through a closed Telegram channel, according to The Moscow Times.

ChatGPT has been banned by the Kremlin since its launch last November due to fears of disinformation and criminal use.

Although upon its launch, ChatGPT’s creator, Microsoft backed startup OpenAI, said it geo-blocked the AI tool to prevent Russian users accessing the system.

Meanwhile, banking giant Sberbank has invested heavily in emerging technology in recent years but took a substantial financial hit after the Russian invasion of Ukraine due to reduced exports, Western sanctions, and the exit from the EU’s SWIFT payment network.

As reported by