My trip to Russia was incredibly exciting.
Moscow and St Petersburg are beautiful cities.
One of the best things about St Petersburg are the white nights. It is broad daylight for 20 out of 24 hours.
It’s amazing to look outside at 10 and 11pm and see the lit up sky.
The people are highly educated and skilled. You can feel it when you speak to them and have any interaction.
It’s because Russia focused so much on education, particularly emphasizing math, science, and engineering.
The country blew everyone away with brains.
They have the best scientists, algorithmics, etc.
No wonder so many geniuses grew up here, from dancers to chess champs, to technology gurus like Sergey BrinofGoogle.
The question is - why do they leave?? But the economy has been pummeled. The country faces a double punch - the credit crunch and the decline in the price of oil. Unemployment is now at 10.2 percent and the economy contracted 9.5 percentin the first quarter and is expected to contract for the year as well.
Still this place offers great opportunity. It is resource rich (minerals, diamonds, silver, emeralds act. It’s the largest producer of oil. The Saudis have the potential to produce more but they don't because of OPEC quotas.
So the Russians produce and sell as much as they can.
The economic recovery here will be dictated by where oil goes next and how quickly demand comes back for its resources.
The most recent rally in oilhas taken some pressure off. President Medvedev is increasingly popular and has emerged from behind his predecessor - PM Putin’s shadow. Most people still believe though that Putin holds the ultimate power.
It was a pleasure to meet and interview President Medvedev.
In case you missed the exclusive interviews, we have posted them here.