The Natchitoches Times (Natchitoches, LA)
Posted on June 13, 2000
By Leah Jackson
Four Russian leaders are touring Natchitoches this week to learn first-hand about economic development and democratic government as a part of the Open World Program sponsored by the Library of Congress. The four are among a handful selected from thousands of participants in the program, which enables emerging political leaders to gain firsthand exposure to the free-market system and the operations of democratic institutions.
Accompanied by two interpreters, the delegates are scheduled to tour offices in the Courthouse, Louisiana Technical College, NSU Alliance Compressors, Williamette, Natchitoches Parish Hospital, Natchitoches Parish Library and historic sites in Cane River country. The Rev. James Poole is coordinating the visit.
The delegates are Vladimir Gavrilovich Starovoytov, Mikhail Nikolayevich Ivanov, Sergey Petrovich Freydorf and Boris Aleksandrovich Avruyskiy. Their interpreters are Olga Shchukina and Alexei Nekrasa.
The four live in the Vladimir Region or State in central Russia, which is 80 percent urban. The capital city of the region, also named Vladimir, has a population of 336,100 and is about 50 miles from Moscow. Participants in the Open World Program were assigned to visit areas in the United States that resemble their homes.
Ivanov, a former collective farm chairman, is head of the Suzdal District. He represents the oldest part of Russia, which has a high tourism factor and an economic base in agriculture and agribusiness. He hopes to learn more about public works, utilities, transportation, budget issues and agriculture.
Freydorf, mayor of Kameshkova, said his area is supported by textile companies, agribusinesses and auto production connected to the gas industry. He is the former president of a textile factory and is most interested in public works, utilities, transportation, agriculture and social services.
Starovoytov, former head of a parachute testing facility, was elected head of his local administration five years ago and said the economic base of his region is in production of electrical equipment. He explained how many companies in Russia are financed by foreign investors. His area of interest lies in representative government, excutive management and economic development.
Avruyskiy, who holds the highest office of the four delegates as head of Vyanzniki Region, represents an area known for timber and textile industries. He is most interested in budget issues, executive management, economic development and commerce.
Speaking through an interpreter, they said the Open World program is a good basis for future relations and that there is good prospectus for business development in their area.
This is the second group of delegates to visit Natchitoches as a part of the Open World program.
Permission granted by the author and does not imply endorsement of any kind.
[Reprinted with Permission]