California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger speaks during a news conference June 30, 2008 at Tesla Motors in San Carlos, California. Governor Schwarzenegger announced that electric car company Tesla Motors will build a new manufacturing facility in California to manufacture its all-electric Tesla Roadster. The $109,000 2009 Tesla Roadster zero emissions vehicle is capable of traveling nearly 250 miles on a single charge and is capable of going 0-60 miles per hour in 3.9 seconds. (Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger extolled Russia on Monday as a "gold mine" for foreign investors, but some of the U.S. high-tech executives in tow during his visit to Moscow remained wary about the realities of doing business in the corruption-plagued economy.
Schwarzenegger brought a delegation of mostly Californian business leaders and venture capitalists to help them establish connections in Russia, which is striving for investment to create a Silicon Valley-style technological hub in the Moscow suburb of Skolkovo.
"The potential for growth is so extraordinary, it's like looking at a gold mine," a beaming Schwarzenegger told a conference of U.S. businessmen. "All you've got to do is to go in there and get it."
Analysts and investors, however, warned that Russia needs to offer more transparent rules for business and to reform its corruption-tainted judicial system to attract more foreign investment.
President Dmitry Medvedev, who visited Silicon Valley in June and announced a daring project to boost his nation's high-tech prowess, acknowledged that graft poses a major challenge.
"In our country, corruption isn't seen as something shameful, it's part of everyday life," he said, before adding that the government is working on a set of moves to step up the fight.
The anti-corruption watchdog Transparency International ranked Russia 146th out of 180 in its 2009 global corruption index.
Schwarzenegger didn't address any of those concerns, putting emphasis instead on Russia's vast potential.