Support Russia Insider - Go Ad-Free!

Leading US Citizen Diplomacy Group Visits 14 Russian Towns - Their Report (Center for Citizen Initiatives)

" ... (We) were out on the streets in the different regions, observing local life and youth, meeting with journalists, having dinners in Russian homes, interacting with strangers, and meeting with university students.  In each city we used “in-house” contacts, ..."


Russia Insider knows the CCI people well, and we strongly recommend them for the amazing work they do.


Dear CCI friends,

The largest and most extensive investigative trip to Russia is now history. Without a doubt there has not been another Russia trip dedicated to understanding where Russia is today (or yesterday), what her cities look like, how Russian people are faring, what their level of culture is, their social services, financial well being, education, their sense of the future, their respect (or lack thereof) of their leadership and a multitude of other indicators.

For this trip we intentionally forgot what US mainstream media prints about Russia and Russians and used our own lenses and ears to get at the truth.

Support Russia Insider - Go Ad-Free!

Our 24 American travelers went to a total of nine different Russian regions and 14 Russian cities and towns, some huge ones, a few small ones and one tiny town. We traveled on planes, trains and in one case automobiles.  

We got to see huge new airports, town-to-town train stations and back country roads. Those of us going to Yaroslavl traveled overnight in a Soviet-era train. It was the first I’ve seen in decades––clean but looking to be a relic from 100 years ago. Some of us got to see the huge new bridge connecting Crimea to Russia, the longest in Europe (19 kilometers or 12 miles).

Everyday of the trip 24 of us were out on the streets in the different regions, observing local life and youth, meeting with journalists, having dinners in Russian homes, interacting with strangers, and meeting with university students.  In each city we used “in-house” contacts, mostly those Russian entrepreneurs who had participated in CCI’s US-based programs during the 80s, 90s, and 2000s.

Knowing the Russia field as I do, CCI having alums in 71 regions of Russia, I can confidently say that this September group of 24 Americans have a better collective grasp of where Russia is today than anyone else in the U.S. This includes those who write for the New York Times, the New Yorker, the Washington Post, the Atlantic Monthly, etc., in addition to CNN, MSNBC and Fox teleprompt readers or any who bring Americans our daily news.

We will be sharing our knowledge and experiences of where Russia is today over the next month or more.

Support Russia Insider - Go Ad-Free!

Michael Metz, who has provided our Foto-Journal pages during the trip, has done a terrific job. Hopefully he will continue with his reflections since this year he and Kathy have gone to China, Cuba and Mexico to better understand where the world is in 2018.  Other travelers will give their “reflections” and insights now that we are home.  

We believe this will give you the broadest possible glimpse into today’s Russia––which otherwise can’t be gotten from other sources.

Sharon (signature)
Sharon Tennison
Center for Citizen Initiatives


Support Russia Insider - Go Ad-Free!

Our commenting rules: You can say pretty much anything except the F word. If you are abusive, obscene, or a paid troll, we will ban you. Full statement from the Editor, Charles Bausman.