February 15: Business Development and Economic Relations Working Group: U.S. Commerce Deputy Assistant Secretary Juan Verde will visit Moscow and meet with Russian Deputy Minister of Economic Development Oleg Fomichev and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs America’s Department Director Elena Danilova to discuss the Working Group’s agenda. He will also meet with a variety of American businesses operating in Russia to discuss best business practices in the energy efficiency industry.
February 16: Civil Society Working Group: Under the Child Protection Sub-Working Group, Drew Oosterbaan, the Chief of the Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section at the U.S. Department of Justice will lead a delegation (that also includes several prominent American NGOs) to Moscow to meet with Pavel Astakhov, Russian Federation’s Presidential Ombudsman for Children’s Rights. The visit follows the conclusion of “Safe Runet [internet] Week for Children,” during which U.S. Embassy representatives participated in various activities throughout Moscow.
February 16: Education, Culture, Media, and Sports Working Group: An exchange between the California Institute of the Arts in Los Angeles and the State Theater Academy in Moscow will bring leading Russian director Yevgeniy Kamenkovich and a group of ten Russian students from the Russian State Theater Academy to Los Angeles to create a joint performance with CalArts students.
February 18: Defense Relations Working Group: The Global and Regional Security Sub-Working Group will have its inaugural meeting in Washington, D.C. The meeting will be chaired by Ambassador Vershbow, Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs, and by the Acting Chief of the Russian Ministry of Defense’s Directorate for International Military Cooperation, Yelena Knyazeva. Topics for discussion include: Security Issues in the Asia-Pacific Region, Mutual Interests in the Global Commons and the Security Implications of Climate Change and the Arctic, and Conventional Arms Control in Europe.
February 17-27: Education, Culture, Media, and Sports Working Group: A ten-day "Film Noir Festival" will take place at the Rodina Cinema in St. Petersburg, giving residents a chance to discover this unique American art form during the blackest days of winter. It will expose the Russian public to such American classics as Sunset Boulevard, The Maltese Falcon, Kiss Me Deadly, Gilda, Out of the Past, The Asphalt Jungle, The Killing, Chinatown, and Devil in a Blue Dress.
February 22 - March 3: Environmental Working Group: Twenty Russian national park and forestry service managers will travel to the United States to discuss ways to balance habitat conservation and wildlife management with economic development; public access issues and law enforcement; and creating links for future U.S.-Russia cooperation on national park management issues. The visit will begin on February 22 with presentations by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), U.S. Forest Service (USFS), and National Park Service (NPS) on U.S. protected area management programs. Following these discussions a reception will be held at the United States Botanic Garden to introduce the group to U. S. government experts, academics, congressional staffers and others. The Russian delegation will then make site visits to Apalachicola National Forest and St. Marks National Wildlife Refuge in northwest Florida. They will also travel to Big Cypress, Biscayne and Everglades National Parks (NPS) in South Florida.
February 22: Education, Culture, Media, and Sports Working Group: Ambassador Beyrle will assist in opening the Lincoln-Alexander II Exhibition at the Russian State Archive in Moscow. Marking the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation of Serfs, this exhibition will explore the common goals of President Abraham Lincoln and Russian Tsar Alexander II, featuring the Liberation Manifesto of Alexander II and Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.
February 24-25*: Business Development and Economic Relations Working Group: The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) and counterparts at the Ministry of Economic Development will hold a digital videoconference to discuss cooperation activities for 2011, including a proposed visit in April of Russian small business experts to Pittsburgh and Detroit, and a proposed Moscow visit by SBA Administrator Karen Mills later in the year.
February 27 – March 4: Energy Working Group: A U.S. Smart Grid delegation, with support from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the United States Energy Association, and the Russian Energy Agency, will travel to the cities of Moscow and Kaluga. The delegation willinclude representatives from American utility companies involved in programs to introduce smart grid technologies. The purpose of the visit is to exchange best practices in utility management and energy efficiency, laying the groundwork for cooperative utility partnerships between the American companies and Kalugaenergo and other Russian grid companies.
Late February: Business Development and Economic Relations Working Group: Ellen House, of the U.S. Department of Commerce, will meet with the Russian Ministry of Economic Development in Moscow to discuss plans to implement our new bilateral management training initiative.
Policy Steering Committee: Under Secretary William J. Burns met with his counterpart Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov to review the wide range of issues on our bilateral agenda and to discuss mutual goals for the year ahead. While in Moscow Under Secretary Burns shared our bilateral goals for 2011 with Interfax. Read the interview here.
Agriculture Working Group: Secretary Vilsack and Minister Skrynnik met via a digital video conference to discuss U.S.-Russian cooperation in agriculture in 2010. The two sides discussed cooperation in food security, veterinary sciences, and domestic nutrition programs. The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced its intentions to commit funding, received from the State Department, to support research in diseases in aquaculture and exchange programs in sustainable agricultural technologies in 2011. Russia’s Ministry of Agriculture expressed its desire to establish a regular forum for collaborating in the veterinary and phytosanitary sciences. Both sides agreed that their coordinators will meet soon to plan next steps for the working group in 2011 and to discuss the Russian invitation to hold an AWG meeting in Russia in December 2011.
Environment Working Group: Fifteen Russian academicians visited Reno, Pyramid Lake, and Lake Tahoe, Nevada to exchange information with American specialists on water management and economic use of water basins with similar climatic and physical conditions. Upon completion of their visit, the participants discussed strategies and action plans for applying in Russia the ideas and approaches discussed during their visit. American and Russian specialists also identified areas for future scientific and technical collaboration. This visit builds on roughly 40 years of U.S.-Russia cooperation on water management issues, beginning with the 1972 U.S.-U.S.S.R. Agreement on Protection of the Environment, which led to a long series of scientific exchanges and study tours focusing on Lake Baikal and Lake Tahoe.
Health Working Group: A delegation of seven senior Russian Government HIV experts and policy makers, including representatives from the Russian Duma and the Federal AIDS Center, visited the New York State Department of Health AIDS Institute and various HIV/AIDS and substance abuse programs to discuss state and local level management and integration of HIV services. The delegation also visited the Stanley Street Treatment and Resources program (SSTAR) in Providence, Rhode Island to discuss HIV prevention services and partnerships between government and NGOs. The delegation’s U.S. visit concluded with meetings in Washington, D.C. with government representatives from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, the Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator (OGAC) at the Department of State, the Health Resources and Services Administration, USAID, and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. At OGAC, the delegation discussed President Obama’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) with Ambassador Eric Goosby. They also reviewed PEPFAR approaches to addressing the global HIV/AIDS epidemic, and exchanged best practices in prevention methods for most-at-risk populations, particularly injecting drug users.
Civil Society Working Group: A delegation led by Deputy Director of the Russian prison system, Nikolai Krivolapov, visited Washington and met with U.S. Bureau of Prisons Director Harley Lapin and counterparts on the Sub-Working Group on Prison Reform. Aside from meetings at numerous agencies, the group visited the Cumberland, MD correctional facility and a halfway house for released prisoners.
Russian delegation and Bureau of Prisons officials in front of the Cumberland Correctional Facility, Cumberland, MD, January 25, 2011.
Education, Culture, Media, and Sports Working Group: American singer Mary Wilson, Rock & Roll Hall of Famer and former Supreme, concluded her popular tour in Russia with a performance at Spaso House. Click for photos.