Medvedev Wins Schwarzenegger Backing for Russian Silicon Valley

President Dmitry Medvedev won Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s backing for his bid to build Russia’s own Silicon Valley, saying he aims to create “powerful” ties with California companies.

“My goal is not just to see what it is like, this is not an excursion,” Medvedev told Schwarzenegger in San Francisco. “I would like that as a result of this trip we start full-fledged relations that will lead to establishing powerful cooperation.”

The Kremlin leader on June 22 arrived in San Francisco for a three-day visit that will include talks with U.S. President Barack Obama in Washington. He is scheduled on June 23 to meet with executives from companies including Apple Inc., Cisco Systems Inc. and Twitter Inc., the No. 3 social-networking site.

Schwarzenegger said he’ll put together a trade mission of technology executives to travel to Moscow to help with the Skolkovo projet “in any way possible.”

Medvedev, 44, is looking to modernize the world’s largest energy producer to lessen its dependence on oil, gas and metals. The country, which sent the first man into space, has been increasingly reliant on imported technology such as appliances and heavy machinery since the Soviet Union disbanded in 1991.

The president in March asked oil and metals billionaire Viktor Vekselberg to oversee the creation of a Russian Silicon Valley in the Moscow suburb of Skolkovo, where tax breaks and other incentives will be offered to lure investment to spur innovation and production of high-technology products.

Cisco, Google, Boeing

Vekselberg, whose assets include a stake in BP Plc’s Russian venture TNK-BP, said June 22 that San Jose-based Cisco will join Skolkovo and that Chicago-based Boeing Co. will sign an accord to do the same on June 24. Cisco will establish a research and development center in Skolkovo to support innovative products, Vekselberg said.

Google Inc. Chief Executive Officer Eric Schmidt agreed to join Skolkovo’s board and will meet Medvedev’s delegation during the California leg of the U.S. trip, Vekselberg said.

“We are working out formats of cooperation,” the billionaire said. “Signing won’t happen as part of this visit, but I think it will in the future. The result of this visit will be the establishment of qualitatively new relations between Skolkovo and our partners.”