The Russians Are Coming!

Hosted by the League of Women Voters…

And they’ll spend an afternoon touring our transit system on October 12th:

Russian Leaders Head For Portland On A Mission
League of Women Voters of Portland To Guide Them

From October 10 through 18, the League of Women Voters of Portland will be hosting five Russian government officials who are coming to Portland. The goal of their visit is to learn about accountable governance.

Aleksandr Mefodyev, the Legal Department Director for Kommunalnyye Tekhnologii (Municipal Technologies), the municipal agency coordinating housing and communal (utility) services in Cheboksary, Chuvashia, would like to learn about the relations between businesses and government, the legal protection of electoral rights, freedom of speech, employee rights and unions, and the constitutional guarantee of human rights.

Andrey Tarasov, Director of Pskov Municipal Services, hopes to learn about US housing and utility services, technical service firms, local government, garbage recycling and environmental programs.

Irina Malinina, Department Head for the Novgorod Region Borovichsky District Administration, is interested in budgeting policies, city planning and services, economic development, public relations, and increasing transparency.

Veronika Trushkova, Director of the Department of City Management for Apatity, Murmansk Oblast, is interested in learning about US municipal financial management; the role of the public in decision-making processes; the legal foundation for small and medium-sized businesses; city sanitation; regulations in the field of ecology; as well as waste management and recycling programs.

Sergey Yeger, General Director of Media Plus LLC, manages urban housing for the city of Orsk, Orenburg Oblast. He is a party member and Political Council Candidate in United Russia. He would like to learn about economic development; local government funding; relationships between federal, regional, and local authorities; how municipal structures such as bridges and buildings can enhance or improve the function and health of communities; and private-public partnership.

The Russians will arrive in Portland on October 10th. The Portland League has planned meetings with local officials including Portland City Auditor LaVonne Griffin-Valade, Metro President David Bragdon, Metro Systems Analyst Runar Gareyev and other Metro staff, Audit Services Director Drummond Kahn, and staff members for Congressman Earl Blumenauer. The Russians will attend a meeting of the City Council; meet with members and employees of the City Water Bureau and the Bureau of Environmental Services; meet with Irene Konev, the Community Outreach Coordinator of the Independent Police Review;and take a tour of the Multnomah County Elections Division.

Before the Russians leave on October 18, they will see a bit of how Portlanders live. They will take a tour of the newly constructed University of Oregon building on the White Stag block in Downtown Portland; tour Station Place Tower LP with Dee Walsh, Executive Director of REACH Community Development Corporation and Steve Rudman, Executive Director of the Housing Authority of Portland; meet with Portland State University Russian Flagship Partner Program students; attend Portland Sister Cities “Bridge to Russia” Gala Event at City Hall; take a walking tour of Downtown Portland; tour the City of Portland via public transit; and spend a day at the Oregon coast.

The League of Women Voters of Portland has been selected by the League of Women Voters Education Fund (LWVEF) to host Russian visitors as part of the 2009 Russia Civic Hosting Program. Sponsored by the Open World Leadership Center, the program introduces emerging Russian leaders to U.S. democracy at every level of government and provides first-hand experiences of American life and culture. The Open World Leadership Center, an independent federal agency, was established in 2000 to foster mutual understanding between Russia and the United States and to support Russians in their efforts at democratic reform.

“We are very excited to have been chosen for this program,” said LWV of Portland President Betsy Pratt. “We are eager to share American culture with our Russian visitors and to learn from this experience as well.”

“The League of Women Voters of Portland will provide our international visitors with the invaluable experience of witnessing the U.S. democracy and American civic participation first-hand,” said Mary G. Wilson, national president of the League of Women Voters. “We firmly believe that citizens of all countries need to be informed and active in government, and that all governments should be open and accessible to their citizens.”

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