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Premier, accompanied by outgoing deputy, visits Skolkovo innovation center

May 29, 2013, 11:34 UTC+3

The purpose of the conference is to select 20 best projects in various technology areas that deserve startup capital

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Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev visited the Startup Village conference held by the Skolkovo foundation. The purpose of the conference is to select 20 best projects in various technology areas that deserve startup capital. Unexpectedly, it was Vladislav Surkov, who welcomed Medvedev and accompanied him at Skolkovo, his former deputy and chief of government staff, whose resignation was accepted by President Vladimir Putin on May 8.

Despite his resignation, Surkov is not done with his Skolkovo, and is still a member of the foundation's board of trustees, the Rossiiskaya Gazeta notes. "He is a member of various councils, including at Skolkovo," said Medvedev as he intervened with an explanation, apparently noting the excessive attention given to Surkov. Himself, Surkov was fielding questions not without humor.

Experts believe that Medvedev and Surkov are trying to preserve Skolkovo as a symbol of innovations, on which both the premier's rating and employment of his former deputy depend, the Kommersant writes.

Startup Village is the largest startup conference in the country held for the first time. The most important part of the conference is a contest between startup teams that present their own projects in the hope to get startup capital to launch their implementation.

The newspaper reminds about the scandal around Skolkovo, which broke out after the Investigative Committee found that the innovation center had paid Opposition lawmaker Ilya Ponomaryov 750,000 dollars for a series of lectures.

The more logical was the premier's visit yesterday, head of the center for political technologies Boris Makarenko believes. "There's one Skolkovo: a real technology park in which - judging by what is happening, nothing outstanding or catastrophic occurs."

"There is also another Skolkovo, a symbol of innovations," set up by Dmitry Medvedev with Vladislav Surkov's assistance. According to the expert, this symbol has nothing to do with the real Skolkovo and is treated as regalia. All the exposed financial violations are punches at the symbol. "And since symbolic damage has been caused," Dmitry Medvedev attempted to partially compensate it on Tuesday," Makarenko noted.

Joint appearance in public with outgoing Vladislav Surkov means that Dmitry Medvedev began "bureaucracy protector game," director general of the international institute of public expertise Yevgeny Minchenko said.

The premier has "taken up the role of a just chief who does not give up his subordinates," as Vladimir Putin did not give them up before him. In bureaucratic terms, the premier's demonstrative move implies "a signal to the ruling elite that he, Medvedev, is predictable."





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