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Zuckerberg meets Russian PM on Moscow mission

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg  met Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev on Tuesday as he visited Moscow on a mission to boost the social network’s presence in the country and scout for new talent.

Russia is one of the few major countries worldwide where Facebook is not the number one social network and, with an estimated five million users, it lags well behind the homegrown Russian-language rival VKontakte.

Local media also quoted industry sources as saying Zuckerberg was keen to tempt the best Russian programmers away from Moscow to work on higher salaries in the United States, a prospect that would hardly delight the government.

Zuckerberg met Medvedev – who promotes himself as a champion of innovation and a drive to give Russia a more diversified economy – at the former president’s Gorki residence outside Moscow.

In a nod to the seriousness of the occasion, Zuckerberg, 28, dropped his usual uniform of hooded top, jeans and trainers in favour of a dark suit and tie.

‘As you know we do not just have gas and oil and gold and diamonds in Russia but we also have an IT industry,’ Medvedev told Zuckerberg in comments published by the government.

He noted the social revolution caused by the growth of social networks: ‘There can be no doubt that today we live in a completely different world. No-one has any doubt about this and this is probably partly your doing.’

Medvedev spokeswoman Natalia Timakova said they also discussed cooperation in IT technology and start-ups in Skolkovo – the new hub outside Moscow that has been championed by Medvedev as a counterpart for Silicon Valley.

Zuckerberg said the main reason for his visit was to attend the Facebook Hack in Moscow, an event where programmers compete to create the best new applications, and acknowledged he liked Russians’ abilities.
Agencies

Agencies

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