This afternoon Russian President Dimitry Anatolyevich Medvedev spoke at Stanford University.
Here are some notes I took during his speech:
He noted 10 tasks for Russia’s government to allow every Russian to succeed within the framework of law.
- Reform and improve education to realize every citizen’s full potential.
- Citizens must have access to full information, foreign and domestic. HDTV and broadband in the future to 90% of all Russians. Access to information serves as a guarantee of freedom of speech.
- Promote intellectual property rights. Laws are not enough as we must educate people to respect the law. Compliance with court rulings is a priority.
- Develop Russian natural resources and high tech companies.
- Strong financial system. Health stock market, currency and banking sector. Balanced basket of currencies is important.
- Most important task is health of citizens. Death rate is going down. Demographic situation finally stopped deteriorating last year. Reform of health system is a top priority.
- Democratic political system based on the constitution is a work in progress. Improve political system in Russian way without foreign mentoring. Judicial power will improve. Raise authority of the courts and create a reliable judicial system.
- Stability – last 20 years of Russian history were harsh and turbulent. Those times changed people’s attitude toward life. Last 20 years were a trial for Russians. Stability is precondition for modernization and development; however, Russia must be open to change. Caucasus and terrorism: threat of extremist in north Caucasus caused by dire socio-economic
- International Relations: Russia is a predictable international parent with a consistent foreign policy. Russia will be firm in protecting her interests while being open to foreign partnerships on based on equality and respect for international law. G20 and G8 meetings in Canada will focus on stability, climate change, nuclear free world, energy, and security efforts.
- Russian is becoming open to many partners, open to trade, economics and cultural life. Invite all to work with Russia.
He closed his formal remarks with a quote from Anton Chekhov: “we must work, work, work, for happiness is something only for our distant descendants.” From Act 2 of Chekhov’s “Three Sisters” I believe.
Highlights from Q&A
- Russia has capital/money but not a silicon valley.
- Relations with Georgia are “dramatically bad” Russia defended its citizens in South Ossetia. No chance of improving relations with the current president of Georgia (Saakashvili)
- He did not rule out running for a second term, but stated that being president is a hard job.