Medvedev in Barnaul, Altai Republic

It has been a busy couple of days for Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. On Tuesday he traveled to Barnaul area for a stop at Altai State University and to speak at Russia’s annual National Student Forum for University students. He also took time to meet with the United Russia party regional leadership group and then Governor Aleksandr Karlin of the Altai Republic.

President Medvedev was greeted by students of Altai State University, Barnaul.

Russian Universities are primarily state funded and Mr. Medvedev told students that preparing for the future included financial support by the community and alumni groups. Mr. Medvedev said that, “it is very important for each university to create an endowment fund. Never mind that it will not be the same size as Harvard’s or Yale’s. You’ve got to start somewhere.”

President Medvedev (L) at the National Student Forum with Education Minister Andrei Fursenko (R).

Speaking at the Forum, in particular the President seemed pleased to dress down a bit when telling the students at the 4th annual conference, “Thank you particularly for giving me a chance not to wear a tie: that’s a special pleasure for me but one that I cannot indulge in very often. On my way here together with the Minister, the Presidential Plenipotentiary Envoy and the Governor, I told them: “Go on, take off your ties.” And they said, “We take our ties off and next we lose our jobs.” But the idea is absolutely right because it is best to discuss the key aspects of our nation’s development in a relaxed atmosphere, and I think we’ve got it here now. That’s great.

Russian President Medvedev spoke at the National Student Forum in Barnaul.

Mr. Medvedev told students, “we must constantly improve our world, look at it through different eyes, make our country modern, efficient and strong, and this requires the modernisation of the economy, our manufacturing sector, our agriculture and science. Who can lead the way? Only the people who are not indifferent.”

During his visit the President also visited the local steering committee of the United Russia party, telling them that “we must bear in mind that we don’t need leadership for its own sake; we need it to carry out reforms and to modernize our country, our economy and our society and in order to achieve success.

Mr. Medvedev in Barnaul with members of the local United Russia committee.

On this trip to the region President Medvedev traveled with Russian Minister of Education Andrei Fursenko, and Viktor Tolokonsky, the Presidential Plenipotentiary Envoy to the Siberian republics. As part of the trip Mr. Medvedev met with Governor Aleksandr Karlin who has served the Altai Republic since August 2007, named to the post by then-president Vladimir Putin after the death of Governor Mikhail Yevdokimov.

Russian President Medvedev (L) and Altai Governor Aleksandr Karlin (R).

Teenage drinking was on the agenda and Mr. Medvedev told the governor that the anti-alcohol fight in Russia should be at a regional level rather than at a federal one to make it effective. The president advocates stricter jail sentences for store clerks who sell alcohol to minors.

Russian governors serve by presidential appointment.