Russian President Medvedev to tour Silicon Valley

June 21, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev will arrive in San Francisco on Tuesday on his first stop in the U.S. He chose to visit the Bay Area first before heading to Washington to meet with President Barack Obama and he did that on purpose.

His economic aide says the Russian president wants to see Silicon Valley before the White House to signal that he is more interested in doing business than he is talking politics. Silicon Valley leaders are delighted.

Tech executives say they are ready to help Medvedev learn what it takes to create a high tech hub like Silicon Valley. They're also flattered.

"When people come here from around the globe or ask us to come to them around the globe because they want to 'start another Silicon Valley,' that's a huge compliment to the innovation economy and all it represents," says Carl Guardino from the Silicon Valley Leadership Group.

The Russian president's top economic aide says Medvedev wants to see everything with his own eyes. He is said to be very interested in learning about social media, something Silicon Valley sees as a positive step.

"Now remember he's coming from a country that until a few years ago, only had socialist media controlled by the government, controlling its citizens," says Guardino.

Medvedev's complete schedule hasn't been released, but his administration has said the trip will include a visit to Cisco Systems, which said recently it plans to dramatically increase its Russian investments. He is also scheduled to meet with Google's CEO and deliver a speech at Stanford University, where many of Silicon Valley's entrepreneurs studied.

"I believe that this relationship between the two countries is a great deal for everybody. I'm kind of optimistic," says Yelena Missinne.

ABC7 asked Russian-Americans how they feel about the upcoming visit. Missinne says she is excited about the changes in technology she has seen in Russia and would like to see Medvedev bridge the two countries together through high tech.

"That would be a nice relationship between scientists and locals who work in this field in Russia and it would be only for peace and friendship," says Missinne.

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will greet the Russian president Tuesday afternoon when he arrives and then the two will have a meeting in San Francisco.

Wednesday, Medvedev will tour Silicon Valley and speak at Stanford and then will head to the White House to meet with President Obama.

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