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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Medvedev Seeks Advice From Singapore on E-Business

President Dmitry Medvedev filed a mock application on Monday to open a Russian restaurant in Singapore, part of efforts to train his government in electronic efficiency to help a modernization drive.

Medvedev, who attended the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit this weekend, asked Singapore officials to demonstrate how documents can be circulated through the Internet — something the Kremlin has tried to launch at home without much success.

"We tried to set up a Russian restaurant in Singapore," Medvedev told a meeting of business leaders from both countries after filling in an appropriate online form during the demonstration. "We will see in eight days whether it works."

Investors cite red tape as one of the worst problems businesses face in Russia. Huge amounts of paperwork and applications to dozens of official organizations are needed to launch or run firms, discouraging business and breeding corruption.

"Some time ago I proposed launching a comprehensive modernization of the Russian economy based in innovation ... to improve its competitiveness," Medvedev told the business leaders.

In contrast, Singapore is known for its efficiency and ease in doing business, and its civil servants ranked highest in Asia according to a study this year by the Political and Economic Risk Consultancy.

Medvedev seeks to use a post-crisis exit strategy to forge his country's modernization after saying excessive dependence on energy and raw materials exports caused extra pain for Russia during the global economic crisis.

Medvedev has clearly indicated that his modernisation drive was not intended to completely disassemble the country's Kremlin-controlled political system.

Opponents blame Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who remains Russia's most influential politician, for boosting state involvement in the economy.

"Singapore shows how many things can be achieved successfully, with tight participation of the government, without its excessive involvement," Medvedev told business leaders after the APEC summit.

Singapore is looking to export "eGovernment" solutions to other countries. APEC's executive director Michael Tay, a former Singaporean ambassador to Russia, is also seeking to drive more business links and investment between the two countries.

Medvedev has ordered officials to ease procedures needed to register new companies. The project of "electronic government" is aimed at moving most registration and tax clearance to the Internet, but previous such Russian efforts have failed.