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Official website of the President of Russia

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Meeting with Russian expats working in Silicon Valley

June 24, 2010, Palo Alto, California

Dmitry Medvedev invited the meeting participants to share their vision of the Skolkovo Innovation Centre being built near Moscow, and the way its activities should be organised.

The Russian leader supported the idea of setting up a branch of the innovation centre in Silicon Valley.

Various estimates put the Russian-speaking community on the American west coast at 500 to 600 thousand people, taking into account those born abroad. They are concentrated chiefly in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Diego, San Jose, Palo Alto, and Portland.

The local Russian community began to develop in the 1920s, with the wave of ‘White Russian’ emigration that came on the heels of the Russian revolution and ensuing civil war. Their numbers were later swelled by the arrival of Russians from China and Latin America. The next wave of Russian immigrants came after World War II. Some of the Russian-speaking immigrants in California left the Soviet Union during the 1970s-80s. In more recent years, immigration from Russia has been primarily for economic reasons.

California’s Russian community today counts a large number of mathematicians, programmers and engineers, concentrated in the Silicon Valley area. Their average age is 30–35. These specialists’ appeal lies in the solid fundamental technical education they have received back in Russia. For the most part, they are engaged in research and development work in high-tech companies.

June 24, 2010, Palo Alto, California