'Terminator' leads tech mission

09:36, October 12, 2010      

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California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger speaks to the media in Moscow Monday. Schwarzenegger hailed Russia's "extraordinary" potential as he brought a high-tech delegation to help transform the country into an innovation-based economy. Photo: AFP

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger hailed Russia's "extraordinary" potential Monday as he brought a high-tech delegation to help transform the country into an innovation-based economy.

The ex-Hollywood actor praised Russia as a land of opportunities. "Russia has great potential, and I am ready to see all of it," he said at a speech organized by the American Chamber of Commerce.

"I love places with extraordinary potential, and in Russia the potential for growth is so extraordinary," Schwarzenegger said. "You look at it and say, 'Oh my God, it's like a diamond or gold mine.'"

Schwarzenegger, who once played a Russian policeman in "Red Heat," a movie set in perestroika-era Moscow, said that "it's a challenging thing" for the country to switch from Communism and integrate into the global economy.

He expressed optimism, however, that Russia's leaders can now "start concentrating on economic development and diversification of the economy," decreasing dependence on oil.

"There is no reason why Russia should not have the best cars and export them to European countries," along with other products, "especially exercise equipment and food supplements ... because Russian athletes were known for decades as the best athletes."

Schwarzenegger, who was born in a small Austrian village and became a champion bodybuilder before embarking on his acting career, is to visit Skolkovo with a group of 25 business representatives from Silicon Valley. Skolkovo is the site of a planned Russian equivalent of Silicon Valley outside Moscow.

President Dmitry Medvedev visited California earlier this year and was inspired to start a Twitter account, on which he raved about the atmosphere in Silicon Valley.

In appropriate style, the visit got underway after Schwarzenegger's arrival on Sunday with the two men exchanging tweets expressing their excitement about the visit.

"Just landed in Moscow. Beautiful day. Can't wait to see Pres Medvedev," Schwarzenegger wrote on his official Twitter page after arriving in the Russian capital.

"@Schwarzenegger, welcome to Moscow. Looking forward to meeting you and your delegation at @skolkovo," Medvedev responded in his message on the microblogging site.

"Moscow these days does not have a mayor," Medvedev said Monday, jokingly offering to Schwarzenegger the mayoral seat of Moscow.

"I know you will be stepping down shortly. If you had Russian citizenship you could get a job here," he said.

Schwarzenegger's delegation includes figures such as former Intel chairman Craig Barrett and leading executives from companies such as Google, Microsoft and Oracle.

Source: Global Times


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