On Thursday's Fast Money, CNBC's Maria Bartiromo uncovered a new reason why investors should consider Russia — it could be the next Silicon Valley.
Just back from a trip to Russia, Bartiromo says the country is the largest exporter of oil and natural gas. But the ups and downs of oil prices are holding Russia back, she says. Its economy expected to grow at just 4% this year, she says, while other emerging economies are expecting 8 or 9% growth. To fix that, Russia plans to diversify the economy and President Dmitry Medvedev is looking to the tech space. Bartiromo learned he's making headway.
Medvedev stopped by Silicon Valley Wednesday to drum up support for plans to build a high-tech center in the Moscow suburb of Skolkovo. Medvedev toured Stanford University and several high-tech companies. After a meeting with the Russian president, Cisco Systems pledged to invest $1 billion in Russian technology projects in the next ten years.
Bartiromo says that while the government seems committed to investing in technology, western investors hesitate to get onboard fearing Russia's bureaucracy. She offered the Fast Money desk her take: "I think the government gets it."
Another sign of Russia's resurgence: Medvedev hopes to double the gross domestic product in five years.
Although that's a trend for the future, Tim Seymour of EmergingMoney.com has a few ideas on how to put money to work in Russia right now. He thinks the best plays are Vimpel-Communications and Mobile Telesystems .
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CNBC.com with wires