Schwarzenegger on high-tech mission to Russia
California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger was in Russia Monday for a visit aimed at lending his state's high-tech expertise to President Dmitry Medvedev's dream to create an innovation-based economy.
Schwarzenegger's delegation of top technology executives will Monday hold talks with Medvedev and visit Skolkovo outside Moscow, the site of a planned Russian equivalent of Silicon Valley.
Medvedev has championed the plan to develop a flourishing high-tech industry in Russia similar to California to wean the economy off its dependence on oil and gas reserves.
The Russian president visited California earlier this year and was sufficiently inspired to start his Twitter microblog on which he raved about the atmosphere in Silicon Valley.
In appropriate style, the visit got underway after Schwarzenegger's arrival on Sunday with the two men exchanging tweets expressing their excitement about the visit.
"Just landed in Moscow. Beautiful day. Can't wait to see Pres Medvedev," Schwarzenegger wrote on his official Twitter page after arriving in the Russian capital.
"@Schwarzenegger, welcome to Moscow. Looking forward to meeting you and your delegation at @skolkovo," Medvedev responded in his message on the microblogging site.
Medvedev is a self-confessed tech junkie who uses tools like Twitter and an Internet video blog to get his message across and spends time surfing Russia's immensely popular blogging sites.
His embrace of the Internet contrasts with the attitude of powerful Prime Minister Vladimir Putin who stated at a meeting chaired by Medvedev earlier this year that the Internet was "50 percent porn".
Schwarzenegger said in a statement released by his office ahead of the visit that Medvedev's plans for an innovation-based economy would help Californian companies export their products to a new location.
"Russia's commitment to creating its own high-tech hub will not only benefit Russia's people and economy, but also California's."
The Austrian-born actor and ex-bodybuilder has already had some exposure to Russian culture.
He played Russian policeman Ivan Danko sent on a mission to the United States in the 1988 thriller "Red Heat", adopting a thick Russian accent and even mustering some comprehensible words of the original language.
Schwarzenegger's delegation includes figures like former Intel chairman Craig Barrett and leading executives from companies like Google, Microsoft and Oracle.
© 2010 AFP