Monday, 5 June 2017

Russia Trip 2017 by US Citizen Group

'Grass root' Citizen Diplomacy

Since 1984, the Center for Citizen Initiatives has built 1000s of person-to-person bridges between Russia and the USA. Here's what they did this year.

In May 2017 a volunteer delegation of 30 American citizens flew to Moscow to meet Russian citizens. They divided into groups for meetings in 10 locations — Moscow, Volgograd, Kazan (Tatarstan), Krasnodar, Novosibirsk (Siberia), Yekaterinburg; the Crimean cities Simferopol, Yalta and Sevastopol; and gathered in St. Petersburg before returning home.

Link to map

Observations and Facts
  • Western sanctions have hurt sectors of Russia’s economy but encouraged agricultural production.
  • Some Russian oligarchs are making major infrastructure investments.
  • There has been a resurgence of [state] religion in Russia. 
  • Russia increasingly looks east. [to China]
  • Russia is a capitalist country with a strong state sector.
  • There is some nostalgia for the former Soviet Union with its communist ideals.
  • There is a range of media supporting both government and opposition parties.
  • Public transportation is impressive.
  • President Putin is popular.
Russians and Americans meet in Yekaterinburg, June 2015

Current Political Tension
  • [Skepticism] about Russian “meddling” in the U.S. election.
  • There is a strong desire to improve relations with the U.S.
  • Western media reports about Crimea are hugely distorted.
  • Russians know and fear war.
  • Russians see themselves being threatened.
  • Russians want to de-escalate international tensions. [Met with Gorbachev]
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2 comments:

  1. Mairead Corrigan Maguire, Ireland5 June 2017 at 21:51

    Dear Koozma
    This is important work of building Links of trust and friendship.
    With you in spirit. Peace
    Mairead

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  2. Excellent initiative! However, these folk [for the most part] are already enlightened and not part of the problem. Unfortunately, the seeds of suspicion, mistrust and paranoia find fertile ground among the dispossessed,the poor and disadvantaged, the sort of folk who will never be able to make such excursions. This is a problem of education dealing with the universality of man, and it must start at the bottom.

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