FROM STANFORD TO WTO

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RUSSIAN PRESIDENT’S OFFICIAL VISIT TO THE UNITED STATES IS OVER

President Dmitry Medvedev visited the United States.


Dmitry Medvedev’s meeting with Barack Obama provided a new impetus for Russian and American negotiators involved in trade talks. The presidents said at the press conference yesterday that they want WTO talks finished by late September. Obama mentioned progress made in the matter of American chicken export to Russia over the last months. This was probably number one news pertaining the bilateral relations. As for international affairs, the two presidents said that Kyrgyzstan would have to deal with its problems on its own. Medvedev said that he had received a plea from Roza Otunbayeva but "… Russia does not plan to send peacekeepers to Kyrgyzstan." Obama in his turn said that he was pleased with the level of U.S.-Russian humanitarian cooperation in Kyrgyzstan.

Without detracting anything from traditional importance of political statements made by the Russian and American leaders, it is clear nevertheless that Medvedev’s visit was trade-focused. It started with a trip to the Silicon Valley where he visited Twitter, Apple, Cisco, and Yandex’s office.

AmBAR President Anna Dvornikova told Medvedev that there were lots of Russians working in the Silicon Valley. She suggested establishment of a Skolkovo mission in the Silicon Valley and that of the Silicon Valley in Moscow. Medvedev liked the idea (he would return to it on several occasions during the visit).

One of those present at the meeting with the Russian president recalled how difficult life of small businesses was in Russia, difficult and expensive – particularly compared with America where it takes but $35 to register a new company.

“You are right. Actually, the situation is even worse and costs are much higher than you imagine,” replied Medvedev. It was therefore decided to establish a no-redtape zone in Skolkovo.

American participants in the meeting with the visiting president of Russia seemed quite content and optimistic afterwards.

It was only at the Stanford University where Medvedev made a speech later on that he was asked the question everyone was really interested in. A young man announced there that realization of Medvedev’s plans depended on whether or not he intended to run for president again. Paradoxical as it might appear, but the president was caught with his guard down meaning that it obviously never had occurred to him to prepare an answer to so reasonable a question in advance. Half his first term of office before him yet, Medvedev began giving the audience chapter and verse how difficult being a president was. “As for 2012, it is like this,” he finally said. “I might decide to go for it but only if three conditions are met: my plans are under way already, I have people’s support, and I lack any other plans for the future to pursue.”

Medvedev and Obama met with American businessmen after the tete-a-tete meeting and the joint press conference.

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