* Russia has wanted to join WTO for more than a decade
* Corruption in Russia endemic, survey shows
* Medvedev sees Silicon Valley "interesting"
By Peter Henderson
SAN FRANCISCO, June 23 IPhone chief Steve Jobs
and his tech titan friends take an unusual consulting
opportunity on Wednesday: helping Russian President Dmitry
Medvedev turn around his creaky economy.
Medvedev will make a whirlwind tour of Silicon Valley, the
U.S. technology hub he sees as a "quite interesting" model that
Russia could follow.
Whether it will do so may be a different matter.
After more than a decade of relative freedom, Russia's
economy is still stuck in its dependence on energy, sending
natural gas to Europe and petroleum to the world, and leading
Medvedev to look for new industries.
Russia must focus on improving protection of intellectual
property if it wants to join the World Trade Organization, a
subject that President Barack Obama and Medvedev are expected
to discuss later in the week in Washington, a senior
administration official said on condition of anonymity.
"The Russians are going to have to take the practical steps
that any other prospective member of the WTO need so to take,"
the official said. Relations between Russia and the United
States have warmed, recently, although that won't assure Russia
membership in the trade group.
"This isn't a favor to us or to the WTO. It's deeply in the
self-interest of protecting the intellectual output, the
innovation, that comes out of Russian industry," the person
In Silicon Valley Medvedev will visit Apple Inc (AAPL.O)
chief Jobs, John Chambers, the chief of Cisco Systems Inc
(CSCO.O), which makes the guts of the Internet, and microblog
sensation Twitter Inc's chief executive and founder, Evan
Williams and Biz Stone.
Medvedev, who will round out his day with a speech at
Stanford University, described Silicon Valley as a place to
learn lessons about modernization.
"This experience is not definitive, but it is quite
interesting," local press quoted him as saying before he left
Russia, and he wants to build a high-tech hub outside of Moscow
with tax breaks and special rules.
Critics want rules that everyone can play by, though. One
tech star born in Russia that Medvedev won't meet is Google Inc
founder Sergey Brin, who once called Russia "Nigeria with
In fact, by some accounts Nigeria is a better place to do
business than Russia, which for more than a decade has promised
to clean up its business climate and join the World Trade
Organization, without success.
The country rated 2.2 out of 10 in terms of business
confidence in the 2009 Corruption Perception Index from
Transparency International -- behind Nigeria. Its best score of
the last decade, 2.8 in 2004, tied Russia with Tanzania and
(Reporting by Peter Henderson, Arshad Mohammed and Guy