Gregory Feifer, RFE/RL
There's little obviously unusual about the drab Moscow suburb Arnold Schwarzenegger visited last month. That's because Skolkovo has only just been selected as the planned site for a new Russian Silicon Valley, the crown jewel of a vaunted project President Dmitry Medvedev promises will modernize his oil-dependent country.
The California governor showed up with a small army of bigshots from Google, Microsoft, and other technology companies the Russians hope will provide the crucial technology they need to realize their ambitious plan.
The "governator" played his scripted role to great satisfaction. Revered by Russians who know him from grainy pirated copies of his movies in the 1990s, he praised the diminutive Medvedev as an "action president" and "great visionary." Skolkovo was a "gold mine" for foreign investors, he said. "We don't see Russia as an enemy."
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