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10.2. Digital Cartels as a Challenge for Antitrust Regulation

Thursday, May 16
15:00 - 17:00

Lecture hall, General Staff Building (6-8, Dvortsovaya sq.)

Cartels cause serious damage to the GDP. Digitalization has made its own adjustments to the ways of forming and maintaining cartels: in the era of artificial intelligence, digital platforms and big data, the companies increasingly use programs, including those based on machine learning, in order to simplify cartel collusion.

In the antimonopoly practice of Russia and other countries, there were noted the first cases involving the use of price algorithms — programs that monitor prices from competitors or resellers of goods and set prices for their goods depending on the price of goods in the market, and auction robots — programs that automatically send bids about the price of an electronic auction according to a predetermined algorithm.

As a symmetrical response to the challenges of the digital era, the antimonopoly authorities introduced screening programs to detect bid rigging. Currently screening programs are used in Russia, South Korea, Brazil, the UK, and are being developed in Canada, Spain, India, and several other countries. Another novelty was the online interfaces offered by some antimonopoly authorities, which allow anonymously reporting on participation in the cartel.

Simultaneously, there is the modernization of anticartel legislation. In Russia, at present, a draft law developed by the FAS Russia has been submitted to the Government to amend the norms of administrative and criminal liability for cartel agreement.

A separate aspect is the discussion about the likelihood of a new type of cartels. The increasing use of digital technologies to control prices and automate participation in bidding makes researchers fear the emergence of digital cartels — cartels that are formed and operate not by the will of people, but as a result of interaction ('collusion') of intellectual programs used by market participants. The question of how real the risk of collusion is will be raised during the session.


Questions to be discussed:

  • The effectiveness of the current antimonopoly regulation in the new reality: the innovations of the anticartel legislation and the ways of its further modernization;
  • The practice of antimonopoly authorities in identifying cartels that use digital technologies;
  • Effectiveness of screening programs. 'Big digital cat' as a new instrument of the FAS Russia to identify bid rigging;
  • Digital cartels (cartels resulting from the use of programs based on artificial intelligence) - myth or reality;
  • The secret of communication in the digital era - the balance of interests.


Andrey Tsarikovskiy

Stats Secretary – Deputy Head of the Federal Antimonopoly Service of the Russian Federation


Andrey Tenishev

Head of the Anticartel Department, Federal Antimonopoly Service of the Russian Federation

Andrey Rego

Head of General Council, Competition Experts Association

Victoria Burkovskaya

Partner, Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev & Partners law offices, Russian Federation

Ioannis Lianos

Academic Director, HSE-Skolkovo Institute for Law and Development

Ekaterina Semenova

Expert of BRICS Antimonopoly Center, HSE-Skolkovo Institute for Law and Development

Alexander Muravin

Senior Associate, Competition and Antitrust Practice, Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner

Evgeniy Bolshakov

Partner, Egorov Puginsky Afanasiev & Partners

Elena Avakyan

Executive Director, Non-Profit Partnership "For Advancement of Corporate Law", Russian Federation

Anton Karpov

Vice President, Saint-Petersburg International Mercantile Exchange, Russian Federation

Galina Dzhanbaeva

Director of strategic development, Interfax, Russian Federation

* The Programme may be subject to change