Russian President Dmitry Medvedev is in Silicon Valley this morning, meeting with the founders of Twitter before heading to Cisco Systems where he's scheduled to see CEO John Chambers, the company's president of emerging markets Paul Mountford, and others.
He'll get a Telepresence demo, make a few remarks, and then he'll head off to Apple for a meeting with Steve Jobs. From there, it's over to Stanford for a speech later today.
The visit is key for Medvedev, as he tries to drum up support and financing for a multi-billion dollar initiative to build a kind of technology and entrepreneurial community outside of Moscow called Skokolov. Google CEO Eric Schmidt, who will miss Medvedev's visit this week, has already signed on as a member of his advisory team, though Medvedev is looking for more Silicon Valley reps, as well as their investment dollars.
Emerging markets are key for Cisco Systems right now.
I sat down with Mountford earlier this morning for an exclusive interview.
Bottomline: Russia's economy must diversify, with its vast reliance still on energy and much of that oil and gas. Medvedev, a 44-year-old technocrat, recognizes this. That bodes well for companies jumping on his tech-investment bandwagon, and those that have his ear might be best positioned to reap the rewards.
Take a listen to my interview. Cisco clearly has Medvedev's ear.
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