mark-zuckerberg-ap-670
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg — Photo AP

MOSCOW: The founder of the social network Facebook Mark Zuckerberg is to visit Russia next week and hold talks on innovation with Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, the government said on Friday.

Zuckerberg will be visiting Russia at a time when Internet and social network use is exploding in the country, even though Facebook lags well behind top Russian-language social network VKontakte and other homegrown rivals in user figures.

“The meeting will take place on Monday,” Medvedev's spokeswoman Natalya Timakova was quoted as saying by Russian news agencies.

“They will discuss cooperation in IT-technology and start-ups in Skolkovo,” the technology hub outside Moscow that has been championed by Medvedev as a Russian equivalent of Silicon Valley.

Regularly brandishing an iPad at government meetings and publishing comments on Twitter, former president Medvedev likes to promote himself as the main proponent of a drive to give Russia a more innovation-based economy.

Critics have regularly ridiculed his often banal utterances on Twitter and noted that the Russian economy is no closer to weaning itself off a dangerous dependence on hydrocarbon exports.

Nevertheless, Medvedev has almost 1.5 million followers on Twitter and also keeps accounts on Facebook and VKontakte as well as a Live Journal blog.

According to the Vedomosti daily, Zuckerberg will also be attending the Facebook World Hack in Moscow, an event when programmers get together to suggest ideas for the social network's development.

Although it is believed to be his first visit to Russia, Zuckerberg's company already has close links to the Russian Internet sector.

Russian technology investment firm DST Global, whose main shareholder is oligarch Alisher Usmanov, has a stake of at least five percent in Facebook although some observers estimate that the holding is even higher.

The anti-Kremlin demonstrations that rocked Russia since December have largely been coordinated through social networks and analysts say that the increase in Internet use poses a significant challenge for the domination of President Vladimir Putin.

Opinion

Editorial

Population calamity
Updated 22 Jul, 2024

Population calamity

Pakistan can also control its growth rate by following the examples of its peers and implementing functional family planning programmes and campaigns.
Blow to occupation
22 Jul, 2024

Blow to occupation

THE International Court of Justice has delivered a legal blow to the decades-old Israeli occupation of Palestinian...
Seeking Priya Kumari
22 Jul, 2024

Seeking Priya Kumari

PRIYA Kumari — the minor girl who vanished on Ashura in 2021 while serving water at a sabeel in Sukkur district ...
Olympics contingent
21 Jul, 2024

Olympics contingent

FROM 10 in Tokyo the last time, it is now down to seven in Paris, and split across just three disciplines. When...
Grave concerns
21 Jul, 2024

Grave concerns

PUNJAB Chief Minister Maryam Nawaz’s open assault on the Supreme Court for ruling in favour of the PTI in the...
Civil unrest
Updated 21 Jul, 2024

Civil unrest

The government must start putting out fires instead of fanning more flames.