Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies Stanford University

June 24, 2010 - FSI Stanford, CISAC In the News

President Dmitry Medvedev: Russia is open for partnership

By Judith K. Paulus

"Russia is open for partnership, for investment, and foreign trade" with American universities and companies, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev told a Stanford audience. " I invite those here to work with Russia."  Saying, "I wanted to see with my own eyes the origins of success and how high-tech businesses are set up," Medvedev spent a day meeting with executives of leading high-tech companies such as Apple, Cisco, and Twitter.

As part of a broad effort to modernize the Russian economy and reduce its reliance on natural resources, his government is planning a high-tech, "Silicon Valley" innovation center in Skolkovo, outside Moscow, that will focus on investment and innovation in five strategic areas: energy sector efficiency, nuclear energy, information technology, telecommunications, and biotechnology. The Russian president has announced new tax and other incentives to attract foreign investment and entrepreneurs. Following his meeting with Medvedev, Cisco CEO John Chambers pledged $1 billion toward high-tech innovation in Russia.

Telling his Stanford audience he wished to make ten key points important for reform and modernization, the Russian president expressed his determination to improve education and access to information for all Russia's citizens, to strengthen the rule of law and protection of intellectual property rights, to reform Russia's financial system, and improve the health of its citizens.

Saying "Russia is a young democracy. We've come a long and very rapid path and our political system is constantly developing," he pledged to improve constitutional rights and the authority of the court system.

While saying that Russia is a country that aims at stability, he noted, "Our system is open to change."  Above all, he pledged Russia will do "everything in its power" to remain a predictable international partner and pursue a forward-looking foreign policy to find solutions to old problems.  The upcoming meetings of the G8 and the G20 in Toronto, he  said, should improve cooperation on terrorism, the effort to achieve a nuclear-free world, climate change, energy, and food security. 

His Stanford talk was President Medvedev's first visit to California and his only public speech on the West coast. It was facilitated by Michael McFaul, former deputy director of FSI and director of its Center on Democracy, Development, and the Rule of Law, who now serves as President Obama's key advisor on Russia. 

After a presentation of a gift by former Secretaries of State Condoleezza Rice and George Shultz, President Medvedev said he was “inspired by what I saw in Silicon Valley and at Stanford. It is indeed very impressive.”  “In a way,” he concluded, “I am sort of jealous of all of you present here.  You have the opportunity to be creative, to teach, to make money, to do something you love, and to quickly see your work bearing fruit.”

Topics: Business | Climate change | Democracy | Energy | Food Security | Information Technology | Innovation | Investment | Nuclear Energy | Rule of law and corruption | Silicon Valley | Terrorism and counterterrorism | Russia | United States