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Home > Projects > Mayor's Visit (2004) > Kotlas Mayor To Visit

Kotlas Mayor And Delegation To Visit Waterville

Alexander Shashurin

Alexander Shashurin at his desk in Kotlas.

By Herb Foster, with additions by Gregor Smith

The Kotlas-Waterville Area Sister City Connection is very excited about an upcoming visit by a high level delegation from our Russian sister city. On June 12, Kotlas mayor Alexander Shashurin will be coming to Waterville for eight days to learn about economic development. This visit will be the first to Waterville by a Kotlas mayor since June 1990, when Shashurin's predecessor, Victor Zverev, came and formally inaugurated our sister city ties.

The mayor will be leading a five-person delegation. Also coming are Andrei Bralnin, the deputy mayor; Andrei Palkin, a prominent Kotlas businessman; and Vladimir Piskurev, a Moscow businessman. Yevgeniy Gribov, a bilingual facilitator, will accompany the delegation to help them through the pitfalls of international air travel and translate as needed.

The visit has been made possible by a grant from the Open World Leadership Program, which is funded by the Library of Congress and administered, in part, by Sister Cities International (SCI), a nonprofit organization that promotes partnerships between U.S. and international communities. According to SCI's web site, the program "aims to promote ideas of accountability, transparency, and citizen participation in government by bringing Russian, Ukrainian and Uzbek elected officials, political candidates, and emerging political and civic leaders to the United States. . . Local communities will host four delegates and a facilitator for a ten-day visit, and receive small grants to support the activities of their visiting delegations. Main program themes are Education, Economic Development, Environment, Health Issues, Federalism, Rule of Law, Youth Issues, and Women as Leaders. Out of these themes, our local communities . . . prepare a program of professional activities to cover various aspects of the theme and address professional interest[s] of the participants."

Since economic development was the theme of our grant proposal to SCI, the delegates will tour as many governmental agencies and commercial enterprises as is feasible during their eight-day stay. They will also meet with local officials and business people to study the structure of city government, to see how our budget is arrived at, to learn about our riverfront development and downtown revitalization, and to study city planning and zoning. To learn about state government, the delegates will meet the governor and selected state economic development officials in Augusta. They will also spend a day at the Mid-Maine Technical Center and the Kennebec Valley Community College to see how local educational institutions provide training to meet the needs of local businesses. These meetings and tours will enable them to return to Kotlas with an understanding of how our government works and hopefully to take with them some ideas from the commercial sector that can help the economy of the Kotlas area.

But the visit won't be all work. The grant also stipulates that our guests be shown some of the sights of our area and be treated to cultural activities. So, a trip to the coast is planned, including a visit to the colonial fort, archeological digs, and lighthouse at Pemaquid. An outdoor barbecue is on tap at the camp of Neal and Martha Patterson, and on their last night here our guests will be treated to a traditional Maine lobster feed.

The grant requires that the delegates stay with host families to familiarize them with American home life. Committee members Phil Gonyar, Herb Foster, Ellen Corey and John Engle will each host a delegate, and Mary Coombs will host the facilitator. Outgoing committee co-chairman, Jack Mayhew, who was instrumental in bringing the group to Waterville, will serve as visit coordinator with his wife Pauline.