Russian business tycoon Viktor Vekselberg will coordinate a project to build a high-tech research and production hub, similar to the Silicon Valley in California, President Dmitry Medvedev said on Tuesday. He said last Thursday the Russian "silicon" will be implanted in Skolkovo, just outside Moscow. "I have decided that the Russian part of the coordinating structure to be created will be headed by Viktor Feliksovich Vekselberg," Medvedev said. There has been no comment yet from Vekselberg, Russia's 23rd richest man worth an estimated $1.8 billion.
Medvedev said it was important to ensure that not only the state, but also the private sector should take an active part in the project.
He directed the government to define Skolkovo's special status, adding that if legislative changes were required for that, they would be made. Medvedev earlier said that the center's research will focus on five priority spheres: energy, information technology, communication, biomedical research and nuclear technology.
Silicon Valley, located near San Jose, California, is a term that originally referred to the region's large number of silicon chip innovators and manufacturers. Today, it is a world leading high-tech hub. In March 2006, the Russian government approved a program to create technoparks to incorporate high-tech enterprises in such sectors as nano-, bio-, information and other kinds of technology, as well as scientific research organizations, educational institutions providing staff for such enterprises, and other related ventures.