GORKI, Russia - Prime minister Dmitry Medvedev told Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg on Monday that Russia's IT industry was as promising an area for investment as its natural resources sectors.
“You probably know that here in Russia we have not only oil,
gas, gold and diamonds – there is also an IT industry,” a
smiling Medvedev told Zuckerberg.
Communication Minister Nikolai Nikoforov, who also attended
the meeting, said a plan for a Facebook research centre in Russia was discussed.
Russian IT firms such as Internet search engine Yandex, which launched its own browser on Monday, and
anti-virus software maker Kaspersky Lab have become global
Zuckerberg wrote on his Facebook page that the conversation
with Medvedev in his country residence outside Moscow had been
“good” and posted a photo of himself in front of St. Basil’s
Cathedral on Red Square.
Sources told Reuters that Zuckerberg would not meet Russia’s
richest man, Alisher Usmanov, who invested heavily in Facebook
in 2009 and this year made $1 billion selling his shares.
Zuckerberg, who was making his first visit to Russia after a
programmer there won Facebook’s Hacker Cup competition, gave
Medvedev a T-shirt with a print of his Facebook address.
iPad-toting Medvedev and his entourage of young IT-savvy
officials make a stark contrast with President Vladimir Putin’s
inner circle of former KGB spies who do not have accounts on
social networks and shy away from modern gadgets.
Research published last week by former Kremlin official
Konstantin Kostin said five of the 20 most popular websites in Russia, including Facebook, had U.S. owners and their share was
growing, which posed a threat to national security.
Medvedev’s spokeswoman Natalya Timakova said Zuckerberg, who
wore a black suit and tie for the meeting, told the prime
minister that when he created Facebook with his university
friends he did not think it could influence politics.