Russians find common ground here
Daily Times-Call (Longmont, CO)
Posted on April 22, 2005
By Victoria A.F. Camron
LONGMONT — Russia and the United States are half a world apart, but professional women in both countries share many of the same concerns: balancing work and home life; having equal opportunities as men; combating violence; fighting substance abuse.
Five business and government leaders from Russia met Thursday morning with some of Boulder County’s top legal and law enforcement officials at the Longmont Safety and Justice Center to discuss these and other topics. Local officials included Longmont Police Chief Mike Butler, Boulder District Court Chief Judge Roxanne Bailan, Boulder County District Attorney Mary Keenan and Longmont Police Detective Devi Suess.
Suess and volunteer coordinator Kay Armstrong also talked with the women in a separate session.
The Russian visitors included Elena Savchenko, a doctor of economics and vice chairman of the Duma, the lower house of the nation’s parliament; Roschinskaya Liubov, vice director of the Baltic Tourist College of St. Petersburg; Ivanova Galina, president of the Institute of Social Technologies in Novosibirsk; Ludmila Guseva of the American Information Resource Center in Nizhny Novgorod; and Liubov Adamskaya, municipal deputy of the city of Moscow.
The women were visiting as part of the One World program, sponsored by the Library of Congress and operated by Rotary International, said Dick Richards, district chairman of the program. During the eight-day visit, which will end Saturday, the women watched legislative sessions at the state Capitol, ate dinner with the Longmont City Council and mayor, and visited Celestial Seasonings and Rocky Mountain National Park, Richards said.
Galina was impressed by the professional managers she met during her trip, she said through an interpreter after the morning’s meetings. While two of the women spoke some English, a professional translated the discussions with the local officials.
All the women they met showed their desire to change the world for the better, Adamskaya said.
“The women take responsibility equally and are not afraid to take responsibility for the work they are doing,” she said through a translator.
One of the first topics raised by the Russian visitors was sexual abuse of children. They are dealing with many of those cases in Russia, Galina said, adding that she was surprised the crime is so extensive in the United States.
Suess said she wished she knew why the crime occurs so often. “It’s most of my caseload. It’s most of what I do all week long,” she said.
Bailin surmised the crime is being reported more often than it used to be.
“Twenty years ago, and going back, children didn’t talk and we didn’t encourage them,” Bailin said. “I don’t think it’s a Russian problem or an American problem. Women are abused the world over, and so are children.”
Galina asked how a victim of domestic violence gets help, and was told the victim only has to call police.
“One call is enough for police to respond?” Galina asked.
In addition to learning about domestic violence issues, the Russian women asked about services provided to homeless people and children who commit crimes. Parents can be held financially responsible when their children break the law, Keenan said.
“We don’t have that,” said Galina, who also asked what is done if a parent puts a child in danger, for example, through alcoholism.
Bailin explained that the state can become involved and require the parent to obtain help. The state even removes the child from the home if needed, she said.
The women seemed fascinated by Bailin’s explanation of the foster-care system, questioning the judge about who volunteers and how the state finds them.
Victoria A.F. Camron can be reached at 303-684-5226, or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
[Reprinted with Permission]