Russian president Vladimir Putin once warned that the global internet was a “CIA project.” But during a meeting with startups in his residence outside Moscow on March 27, Putin seemed to warm up to the idea of the internet somewhat, as the entrepreneurs patiently explained to the world leader that it could help him get a cheaper hotel rate, order a tow truck, or even rent a breadmaker.
Dmitry Smirnov, the Kremlin correspondent for Komsomolskaya Pravda live-tweeted the very informative conference:
“They’re explaining to Putin how you can reduce the cost of your stay at a hotel through a website. He’s listening with great interest”
“Now they’re telling Putin how quickly you can call for a tow truck over the internet. He is listening to this with interest too”
“And now—how to buy a ticket for an intercity bus without waiting on line. He’s listening to this too—how topical!”
“Now the president has learned how to rent things through the internet for short periods of time: a bicycle, a breadmaker or any kind of kitchen gear.”
“Aha! Now we’ve come to the part where they tell the president why you shouldn’t watch movies on pirate sites: There are indecent banners or viruses! He’s undoubtedly convinced”
“Start-up guys to Putin: We have a lot of projects. Do you have any more time? Putin: No. I never had any. But I feel like listening. Let’s have another two or three”
Putin also said that online businesses were a hugely important economic opportunity for the country, and spoke of the Russian government’s efforts to bolster the sector, the Kremlin-backed news service RT reported.
“#Putin: Russia has the most internet users in Europe–60 million. We can’t ignore that.”