Putin Vetoes Proposed Breaks for Medvedev Innovation Hub

Skolkovo File Photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Scott Rose & Ilya Arkhipov – Dec. 12, 2012)

Russian President Vladimir Putin vetoed legislation passed by parliament on changes to the Skolkovo innovation hub, a project championed by Premier Dmitry Medvedev, threatening to widen a rift between the two men.

The bill, which proposed delaying mandatory residency requirements for Skolkovo, needs additional work to determine measures for evaluating the program’s effectiveness, the Kremlin said today in an e-mailed statement. The law also raises questions related to safeguards and regulations of intellectual- property rights, according to the statement.

Skolkovo, unveiled in 2010 and based outside Moscow, was a hallmark of Medvedev’s efforts to modernize the world’s biggest energy exporter by weaning Russia off its reliance on commodities and nurturing a knowledge-based economy that can compete globally. Medvedev, who was president before swapping jobs with Putin in May, has sought to model the technology hub after Silicon Valley, offering tax breaks and other incentives to lure investment.

“This may signal another fight between elite groups, and it’s a blow for Medvedev, who masterminded the project,” Olga Kryshtanovskaya, a Moscow-based political analyst, said by phone. “It’s unprecedented for Putin to veto a law that passed both houses of the parliament.”