Schwarzenegger welcomes Medvedev to California

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Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has met with California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in San Francisco.

Medvedev plans to visit Silicon Valley for the first time, eager to reinvent his country's outmoded, oil-dependent economy, and lure talent and money from the US high-tech centre.

He will also visit the founders of Twitter, before heading to Silicon Valley to meet with other high-tech executives, as well as giving a speech at Stanford University.

Medvedev wants to transform Russia from a raw materials supplier into a high-tech, intellectual oasis.

Schwarzenegger said that he was interested in putting together a trade delegation "to help in anyway possible in order to improve and to build on an already fast growing economy in Russia, because I think this will be very very beneficial for both, the state of California and also for Russia."

Two years into his presidency, the 44-year-old, tech-savvy Kremlin chief may still live in the shadow of his predecessor Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, but that has not stopped him from strenuously pursuing pet projects, the most grandiose of which is the creation of Russia's own Silicon Valley .

In four months the Kremlin has lavished the "innograd", or innovation city, project in Skolkovo outside Moscow with budget allocations of hundreds of millions of pounds, attracted entrepreneurs and scientists, and last week in St. Petersburg secured a promise from Silicon Valley's Cisco Systems to participate in the ambitious venture.

Since the Soviet Union dissolved nearly two decades ago, thousands of Russia's brightest minds emigrated to work in scientific centres in the US, Britain and Israel. Now Russia's leadership wants to entice them back and keep ambitious minds at home.

After California, Medvedev will fly to Washington to meet with President Barack Obama. They will then go to Canada for the G8 and G20 summits.

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