Schwarzenegger adds muscle to Medvedev's vision for Russian Silicon Valley
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger arrived in Russia this week along with executives from Google, Microsoft, and Oracle to give a boost to Russia's burgeoning tech sector.
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So, not surprisingly, Russians – who are huge fans of the "Terminator" movies – swooned with delight when the soon-to-retire California governor arrived in Moscow for a three day visit Sunday and, in that steely voice, deadpanned: "I came back."
Upon his arrival, Mr. Schwarzenegger tweeted: "Just landed in Moscow. Beautiful day. Can’t wait to see Pres Medvedev."
Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, a self-described computer geek who reportedly loved his tour of Silicon Valley last June – a visit that ended amid one of the worst US-Russia spy scandals in history – responded: "@Schwarzenegger, welcome to Moscow. Looking forward to meeting you and your delegation at @skolkovo."
By all accounts, Schwarzenegger's visit was a PR triumph, garnering more adoring Russian media attention than many official visits by heads of state (see Russia Today coverage here and here) as well as more Kremlin face time with Medvedev than most ever get.
Medvedev, who claims to be one of the Terminator's "biggest fans," took Schwarzenegger for a spin in a vintage Soviet Chaika limousine and jokingly offered him the job of Moscow mayor – vacated last month after Medvedev fired longtime incumbent Yury Luzhkov.
But the jury is still out on what Schwarzenegger, who arrived with executives of 28 US energy and IT firms in tow – including Google, Microsoft, Oracle, Intel, and Bloom Energy – might have accomplished in a practical vein. The visit's main purpose is to check out Skolkovo, the Moscow-region high tech park that's being hyped by the Kremlin as Russia's version of Silicon Valley, and find profitable ways for Russian and US cutting-edge industries to cooperate.