printable banner

U.S. Department of State - Great Seal

U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission: September Newsletter on Upcoming and Recent BPC Events

Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs
September 27, 2012


 Inside this issue…

Featured Successes

Secretary Clinton and Minister Lavrov Sign Agreements at the APEC

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergey Lavrov signed a Memorandum of Understanding between the U.S. and Russia on Cooperation in the Antarctic and a Joint Statement on Strengthening U.S.-Russian Inter-Regional Cooperation at the 20th Annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders meeting in Vladivostok, Russia on September 8. The Secretary also held talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin during a meeting before the official dinner at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit.

Date: 09/08/2012 Description: Secretary Clinton and Minister Lavrov at APEC in Vladivostok, Russia on September 8, 2012. - State Dept Image

U.S. and Russia Create First Combined Tobacco and Alcohol Prevention Program for Pregnant Women

On August 6, a new USAID-funded project to reduce tobacco and alcohol use among pregnant women and youth was launched at Russia’s Public Health Institute. Two leading U.S. experts, Professors Richard Windsor from Washington University and Tatyana Balashova from University of Oklahoma are playing key roles in the one-year project, which will train physicians in Tula, Tver and Tambov to counsel pregnant women on the dangers of alcohol and smoking during pregnancy. Among the 30 health facilities participating are women’s consultation centers, youth clinics, family planning centers and district hospitals. This project contributes directly to advancing two priority areas of the U.S.-Russia Bilateral Presidential Commission’s Health Working Group - maternal and child health and non-communicable diseases. It is also the first known project to simultaneously address both alcohol and tobacco use during pregnancy.

Business, Economics, Energy, and Innovation

University Start-Ups Program Launched in Moscow

The U.S.-Russia Foundation’s EURECA (Enhancing University Research and Entrepreneurial Capacity) program organized a three-day training event to foster entrepreneurship on September 16-18 near Moscow for approximately 30 professionals from twenty Russian National Research Universities. American Councils, an international, non-profit educational organization, brought trainers to Russia from the U.S., including the Director of New Ventures of the Cleveland Clinic to the training to work with Russian experts. The program focused on optimal university services to spur and activate start-ups and include live analysis and planning for start-ups of the participating institutions. This project contributes directly to support the goals of the BPC’s Innovation Working Group.

Innovation Concert at Spaso House

In support of the Innovation Working Group, on September 12 Ambassador McFaul hosted leading U.S. expert on innovation John Kao who gave an "innovation concert" at Spaso House for local innovation community. Participants were treated to his jazz stylings and lively discussion of promoting creative innovation.

Small and Medium Size Business Leaders Meet in St. Petersburg

From August 1-3, Dario Gomez, Assistant Administrator of the Small Business Association (SBA), and U.S. Chair of the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Sub-Working Group, participated in the APEC SME Ministerial in St. Petersburg along with Undersecretary of Commerce Francisco Sanchez. During the Ministerial, he shared SBA’s best practices for fostering the development of SMEs in the United States. Dario also met with his counterpart, Natalia Larionova, head of SME Department of the Ministry of Economic Development, to discuss next steps in bilateral cooperation and other ways the Sub-Working Group can cooperate in furthering the development of the SME Sector in Russia.

Date: 08/01/2012 Description: Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) sub-working group leaders Dario Gomez and Natalia Larionova meet in St. Peterburg. - State Dept Image

U.S. Bankers Discuss Small Business Lending in Moscow and Sochi

As part of the Small and Medium Enterprise (SME) Sub-Working group under Business Development and Economic Relations Working Group, the Small Business Administration (SBA) facilitated the visit of two U.S. private bankers to Russia to discuss small business lending from September 3-7. Julie Huston, President of the SBA Division of U.S. Bank, and Richard Bradshaw, Senior Vice President at TD Bank, gave detailed presentations on SBA’s loan guarantee program to Vnesheconombank, SME Bank, the Ministry of Economic Development, the Association of Regional Banks, and the Russian Non-Governmental Organization for Small and Medium Entrepreneurship (OPORA). They later took part in the Sochi International Banking Forum, speaking at a roundtable on International Experience in SME Financing.

Special American Business Internship Training (SABIT) Program Hosts Seminar on Corporate Leadership Ethics for Alumni

Past participants of the SABIT program joined leaders of small and medium enterprises in St. Petersburg, Russia on August 2 for a seminar on corporate leadership ethics. Commerce Under Secretary for International Trade Francisco Sanchez gave opening remarks at the reception were he congratulated a Russian entrepreneur who attributes the success of his glass-testing business to the knowledge and experience he gained during his SABIT Program Internship. Over the last twenty years, this U.S. Department of Commerce program has offered industry specific and technical training to over 5,000 to mid-to-senior professionals and business leaders.

Russian-American Pacific Partnerhip in Tacoma, WA – Supporting Business Ties Between the U.S. West Coast and the Russian Far East

With support from the Business Development and Economic Relations Working Group, on September 19-20, Commerce Deputy Assistant Secretary for Europe and Eurasia Matthew Murray and Ministry of Economic Development Deputy Director of the Americas Dmitry Sazhin co-chaired the 17th annual meeting of the Russian-American Pacific Partnerhip in Tacoma, Washington. The meeting addressed trade between the U.S. West Coast and the Russia Far East, and included discussion of air and maritime transportation developments to facilitate trade.

Workshop on Exports Controls and Dual-Use Commodities

The U.S. Department of Energy’s National Nuclear Security Administration conducted a training workshop in Troitsk on August 28-30 for representatives from Rosatom’s Trinity Institute and the Russian Academy of Science to discuss international export controls for sensitive dual-use commodities. Participants indicated that the training was very helpful in familiarizing them with the procedural requirements needed to pursue technical exchanges with foreign partners that adhere to Russia’s export control regulations.

Environment Science, Health

Workshop Aims to Help Protect the Far Eastern Leopard

The boreal forest surrounding the eastern Russia-China border is home to the last viable population of Far Eastern Leopards. Just a few decades ago the Far Eastern Leopard’s numbers were plentiful and their range extended deep into Russia, China, and the Korean peninsula. However, as a result of poaching, forest degradation, and habitat loss, the subspecies has dwindled to less than 40. The U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Forest Service, in cooperation with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), convened and supported a three-day workshop from July 31 to August 2 in Slavyanka, Russia. Thirty-four experts, specialists, and administrators from Russia, China, and the U.S. came together to exchange information on survey methods and conservation tactics, as well as to determine ways to promote international cooperation.

Fisheries Cooperation in St. Petersburg

U.S. and Russian delegations met in St. Petersburg September 5 – 7, to discuss the status of fisheries stock and cooperation during the annual meeting of the Intergovernmental Consultative Committee on Fisheries (ICC) furthering cooperation under the 1988 bilateral fisheries agreement. The U.S. delegation was led by Ambassador David Balton and included representatives from the Department of State (OES), NOAA, the U.S. Coast Guard, and the North Pacific and Bering Sea Fisheries Advisory Body. The Russian delegation was led by Alexander Fomin, Deputy Head of the Russian Federal Fisheries Agency, and included representatives from the Federal Fisheries Agency, FSB State Maritime Inspection Division, and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as scientists from several fisheries institutes. Scientists from both sides shared data on fish stocks in the northern Pacific Ocean and Bering Sea. Law enforcement agencies highlighted instances of close cooperation on inspections and prosecutions. At both the ICC meeting and a negotiating session on September 4, members of the delegations continued discussions on a bilateral agreement on illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing.

New Partnership Launches Study on Treatment of Drug Addiction in Leningrad Oblast

On August 21, an agreement was signed by the Leningrad Oblast AIDS Center, the Leningrad Oblast Narcological Center, and the American International Health Alliance to conduct a three-year study on the use of the drug Vivitrol in rehabilitation therapy for injection drug users (IDUs). Vivitrol is an injectable form of naltrexone, which, unlike methadone, has been approved by the Russian Government specifically for the treatment of opioid-dependent drug addiction. The new study will be the first to examine the effectiveness of Vivitrol therapy for IDUs as part of an integrated program of HIV/AIDS care, prevention and treatment.

9th Russian American Long-Term Census (RUSALCA) of the Arctic Takes Place

The 9th RUSALCA expedition began this summer. With close collaboration with the GNINGI arm of the Russian Navy, the RUSALCA team successfully recovered all previously deployed moorings and instruments in Arctic waters. Customs and border guard checkpoints were cleared successfully. The RUSALCA team invited two Russian Border Guards to travel with the expedition to ensure full compliance with all regulations. The RUSALCA expedition is currently transiting northwards to Wrangel Island and beyond, gathering biological, physical, chemical and geological observations that will provide clues to the response of the ecosystem to the loss of sea ice in this region.

Two Russian Botanists Visit the St. Louis Botanical Garden

On September 15 two Russian botanists visited St. Louis for a week of observation at the Missouri Botanical Garden. They then traveled to Iowa and Minnesota to view the prairie landscapes finishing the trip at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Minneapolis. Organized under the U.S.-Russia Environmental Agreement, the trip is coordinated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Missouri Botanical Garden.

Culture and Education

Opening Ceremony of the Kopylov House

On August 10, Kopylov House celebrated with an opening ceremony of the on the grounds of the Semenkovo Open Air Heritage Museum near Vologda in Northwest Russia. Built by a well-to-do merchant, the house was painstakingly and beautifully restored by the museum's staff of carpenters, woodcarvers, glaziers, muralists and others with the help of a $100,000 grant from the U.S. Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation. During his remarks, Consul General Turner emphasized the importance of cultural preservation for future generations of not only Russians, but for all of humanity, and the need for international cooperation in this area.

Date: 08/10/2012 Description: Consul General Turner opens the Kopylov House in Vologda Oblast. - State Dept Image

Bluegrass in the Urals

In its second running, Bluegrass in Urals drew huge crowds in both Perm and Yekaterinburg from August 14-18th. Despite rain and cold temperatures, almost 500 people came to watch the best of the best from America, led by Bill Evans, play traditional Bluegrass songs. A contest winner from each city received an autographed banjo and ‘how to guide’ from Bill Evans during the concerts.

Date: 08/10/2012 Description: Children from the Urals attend Bluegrass workshop. - State Dept Image

Bluegrass in the Vologda Region

The Third Annual Russian-American Bluegrass Festival attracted a standing room only crowd of music devotees from the City of Vologda in northwest Russia. Held on August 10 in a modern amphitheater on the grounds of the 16th century Archbishop's Palace in the Vologda Kremlin, the festival featured the American bluegrass band Bill Evans and the Bluegrass All-Stars, plus two Russian bluegrass bands from St. Petersburg. The program was repeated the next night on the main square of the town of Totma, where it attracted a thousand or so listeners.

Totma Residents Mark the 200th Anniversary of the Founding of Fort Ross

To mark the 200th anniversary of the founding of Fort Ross in Sonoma County, CA, by the Russian explorer and Totma resident Ivan Kuskov, a "television bridge" (actually a digital video connection) was created between the two sites on the evening of August 11. St. Petersburg Consul General Bruce Turner was on hand to congratulate the enthusiastic crowd of roughly a thousand Totma residents who turned out to watch the live video feed. The "television bridge" was the finale of a day-long celebration that included an outdoor concert by an American bluegrass band, a dramatic reenactment of the events surrounding the founding of Fort Ross, and a visit to the Kuskov House Museum.

American Photography Exhibits Draw Crowds in Perm and Yekaterinburg

An exhibition of American photographer, Bruce Gilden, opened at the Metenkov Photography Museum in Yekaterinburg on August 8th, drawing a crowd of over 100 people. The exhibit will run through September 26th, when Bruce Gilden arrives to attend the closing ceremony and to conduct master classes. This exhibit ran consecutively with an exhibit of Frank Dituri, which opened in Perm on August 28th. Both photographers challenge students and art lovers to take a new perspective and find unique subjects for their works.

Date: 08/08/2012 Description: Local photography enthusiasts attend the Bruce Gilden exhibit in Yekaterinburg. - State Dept Image

American Musicians a Big Hit at the Hermitage Gardens Jazz Festival

The annual open-air festival, “Jazz at the Hermitage Garden,” celebrated its 15th anniversary this year. The Hermitage Garden Park in downtown Moscow drew 2,000 listeners on three consecutive evenings, August 24 – 26. The program included several American jazz musicians, whose participation was made possible by a grant from the Public Affairs Office at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. The American performers included Opus 5, the all-star jazz quintet, as well as legendary American harmonica player, Hendrik Meurkens, and virtuoso pianist George Colligan.

Muscovites Turn Out to Commemorate John Cage

As part of its September 10 – 13 festival in commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the birth of experimental American composer John Cage, the Russian National Center for Contemporary Arts organized two concerts, “Silent Presence,” at Moscow State Conservatory and one at Tchaikovsky Hall.

Show US! American Documentary Film Festival Expands to the Urals and Tatarstan

For the third year in a row, Moscow’s popular 35 mm movie theater hosted a festival of American documentary films, offering a real life view of U.S. society. Running September 6 - 10, the festival’s six screenings attracted more than 1200 film lovers in Moscow alone. This year “Show US!” expanded to two more regions of Russia: Yekaterinburg in the Urals and Kazan, the capital of the Republic of Tatarstan. The Public Affairs Office at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow funded the festival and sponsored the visit of two American film directors, TJ Martin and Dan Lindsay, who won the Academy Award earlier this year for Best Documentary Feature Film for their picture “Undefeated.” Besides holding question-and-answer session after screenings in movie theaters, Martin and Lindsay presented their film at other venues in Moscow, Kazan and Yekaterinburg, including the Russian State University for the Humanities, the International Institute of Film, TV and Radio and other schools and universities. National and local media, including federal Channel 1, MTV, Kultura Channel, Moskovskaya Pravda, and the Moscow News, covered the festival extensively.

Date: 09/06/2012 Description: Film directors Martin and Lindsay take questions at the screening of their documentary. - State Dept Image


Maritime Exercise Northern Eagle Took Place in August

Northern Eagle is a biennial naval exercise involving the U.S., Russia and Norway. The purpose of the exercise is to promote military cooperation between the three countries in areas of common interest. This year's edition of "Northern Eagle" included sailing from Bodoø to Sevoromorsk on Saturday August 25 while performing air defense exercises, search and rescue drills and anti-piracy and maritime security operations. During the event wreaths were laid to commemorate those who fell during World War II while participating in the Arctic convoys. The exercise ended in the Russian Northern Fleet's main base in Sevormorsk.

U.S., Russia and Canada Take Part in the Vigilant Eagle Anti-Hijacking Exercise

Members of the North American Aerospace Defense Command and the Russian Air Force completed Exercise Vigilant Eagle. Vigilant Eagle 12, a joint computer-based command post exercise, is designed to build and strengthen cooperation between U.S., Canadian and Russian military forces in fighting terrorism. The scenario involved a terrorist hijacking where an aircraft moves between U.S. and Russian airspace. Air Force Brig. Gen. Richard Scobee, NORAD Deputy Director of Operations, said the command post exercise allowed them to run through complex scenarios that will be flown the following year.

Defense Technology Sub-Working Group Meets in Washington, DC

Mr. Frank Kenlon, Acting Director for International Cooperation, hosted the second meeting of the Defense Technology Cooperation Sub-Working Group in Washington on August 14-15. COL Oleg Vaschenko, Chief of the MOD's IPR and Military Technical Cooperation Directorate, led the Russian delegation. The meeting focused on identifying mutual areas of interest for defense technology cooperation. The next meeting will be planned for Spring 2013.

In Other News

ITMO's Annual SumIT Summer Lab Takes Place in St. Petersburg

A team from the UCLA Computer Graphics and Vision Laboratory joined 17 other teams from Russia, Czech Republic, Finland, and Belarus at the summer ITMO boot camp, SumIT, a six-week long global startup competition focused on biotech and IT. The UCLA team presented their project vuPad - a product that allows users to visualize interior design arrangements in their home using a smartphone or tablet device. After coaching and seminars, teams including the UCLA team presented their product to venture capitalists from both Russia and the U.S. UCLA Chancellor Gene Block made his first visit to Russia in August and participated in SumIT ceremonies along with colleagues from UCLA. The winners received start-up capital and mentorship from leading experts in their fields.

Upcoming Events

September 15-October 5: A group of Russian national park and nature reserves managers will travel to the U.S. to take part in a capacity building workshop in Alaska. The group will visit Kenai Fjords National Park, Kenai National Wildlife Refuge, Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge, Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge, Denali National Park and other field sites.

September 18-October 22: The Lumière Brothers Gallery in Moscow’s Red October arts complex will host an exhibition of 100 photographs by American photographer Howard Buffett.

September 19-29: A group of Russian specialists in illegal logging will go to the U.S. for participation in the US-Russia Forest Law exchange program. This program is aimed to build law enforcement partnerships to address illegal logging. Participants will explore and discuss the structure, roles, and responsibilities of forest and law enforcement institutions in the U.S. and Russia in prosecuting timber theft cases, tools and technologies, including remote sensing, timber tracking, and DNA that could assist in preventing or investigating cases under Lacey Act.

September 22-29: Vladivostok International Film Festival.

September 24-26: Mission Russia will lead a delegation of more than 100 Russian business executives and public officials to MINExpo 2012 in Las Vegas. Held every 4 years and sponsored by the National Mining Association, MINExpo is the world's largest and most comprehensive exhibition focused on the mining industry.

September 24-25: The U.S. National Nuclear Security Administration and ROSATOM will meet in Moscow to discuss collaborative nuclear forensics projects

September 25-27: The U.S. Geological Survey will provide training on the International Charter Space and Major Disasters for improved disaster response with staff from ROSCOSMOS and EMERCOM in Moscow.

September 27: Ambassador McFaul will host a SelectUSA Investment Forum to promote the U.S. as an attractive investment destination to potential Russian investors. The Foreign Commercial Service of the U.S. Department of Commerce is working with the leading Russian business association, RSPP, as well as Ernst & Young and Citibank to stage this forum on investing and doing business in the U.S.

September 27: Tuberculosis Center of Excellence will be opened in Saratov by the University Research Company under the USAID-supported Healthcare Improvement project.

September 28: Roundtable on “Recent Trends in U.S. Patent Law and Procedures at RosPatent,” with participation from the Russian Federal Service for Intellectual Property and the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

October 1-4: American documentary filmmaker Henry Corra will be the special guest for the Rossiya festival in Yekaterinburg. The filmmaker has tackled numerous tough topics, from alcoholism to war, and will show two of his most acclaimed films for Russian audiences. Corra also plans to conduct several master classes and talks during the festival.

October 2: Space Cooperation Working Group meeting on the margins of the International Astronautical Congress.

October 3-9: “AmFest,” an annual film festival of independent American films, will take place at Moscow‟s 35mm Theatre.

October 4-10: The “Tizer” jazz band concerts in Vladivostok and Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk.

October 6-14: A group of 20 young U.S. ice hockey players and their 4 coaches will travel to Moscow for a sports exchange program, organized by “Sports United.”

October 8: The Annual Meeting of the Emergency Situations Working Group will take place in Vladivostok.

October 10-11: The Russian State Duma and the American-Russian Cancer Alliance are organizing a "For a Healthy Life‟ Forum in Kazan.

October 8-12: Environment Protection Agency representatives will attend a workshop on the oil and gas industry in Moscow, as part of continuing cooperation and information sharing under the Global Methane Initiative between EPA and Russian oil and gas companies.

October 8-12: U.S. Geological Survey and Roshydromet will hold a workshop on the topic of “Streamflow Trends in the United States and Russia In Response to Climate Change.”

October 14-28: Joint project with Primorye Regional Philharmonic Hall: American oboe player Andrea Ridilla will conduct master classes and performs two concerts of the classical music “From the New World”

October 17-19: Black Carbon workshop will take place at the Russian Academy of Science in Moscow

October 18-22: San Diego-based 15-member Mariachi band will perform in concerts in Vladivostok, Slavyanka, and Ussuriysk.

October 20: The famous American opera singer, Jessye Norman, will perform a jazz program at the Stanislavsky and Nemirovich-Danchenko Theatre.

October 23: The Lumière Brothers Gallery in Moscow's Red October arts complex will host an exhibition of the works of American photographer Steve Schapiro.

October 26: American pianist Robert Levin will perform with the “Musica Viva” Chamber Orchestra at Tchaikovsky Hall.

October 29-30: MED has formally proposed holding the Innovation Working Group

October 17-19: The Annual Joint Coordinating Committee Meeting of the NOAA-RAS MOU in the Area of World Oceans and Polar Regions will take place in Silver Spring, MD.

October 17-19: U.S. Geological Survey and ROSHYDROMET Hydrometeorological Center of Russia will meet in Moscow to discuss overlapping interests in flood science – stream flow monitoring, modeling, forecasting, and inundation mapping.

October 12-13: The Training, Education, & Human Resources Sub-Working Group will meet at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs.

October 29-November 1: The Logistics Cooperation Sub-Working Group is scheduled to meet the week of October 29 in Moscow.

Back to Top

Do you already have an account on one of these sites? Click the logo to sign in and create your own customized State Department page. Want to learn more? Check out our FAQ!

OpenID is a service that allows you to sign in to many different websites using a single identity. Find out more about OpenID and how to get an OpenID-enabled account.