Russian leadership group tours county
|RUSSIAN LEADERS: Members of the Russian leadership group Open World 2002 exit the Loudoun County Courthouse grounds yesterday following a tour of the courts. Times-Mirror Staff Photo/Mark Turney.|
Ruby lived under the old courthouse for 13 years, fed by a lenient judge.
The National Peace Foundation selected Leesburg as the host town for the group, which spent the past week touring the county. The visit, funded through the Library of Congress with a federal grant, was given the theme, "Women as Leaders."
Nicole Ard, assistant to the town manager of Leesburg, planned much of the group's itinerary. She said the purpose of the visit was to help Russians learn about U.S. culture and government.
Sheriff's Deputy Sergeant Peter Wolf, who is fluent in Russian, gave the group a tour of general district court, where Judge Dean S. Worcester paused to explain the rights of defendants and the role of public defenders.
Tatyana Ivanova, a legal consultant in the Yaroslavl region, said Russia's legal system is similar, but that in the United States justice is swifter.
"Things here go much more quickly," she said.
After observing a female deputy, Alisa Morgoyeva, of Vladikavkaz, noted that women are common in the Russian legal profession but not in security positions.
"The crime rate is high and laws are not implemented the way they should be," said Morgoyeva. "Law enforcement is low paying and corrupted."
One member of the group asked if judges were ever threatened or assaulted. The Russian courts lack security, she said, and a female judge was recently killed in Moscow.
Several of the Russians said they share common goals as well as problems with women leaders in the United States -- such as discrimination in the workplace -- but that women here have more opportunities.
"American women are ready to achieve, start their own businesses and flourish," said Ivanova.
Morgoyeva added that the Russian economic structure can hinder aspirations.
"Here in the States, a lot depends on your own efforts," she said. "A person in Russia can have a degree and have no possibility for career development."
The group also toured several attractions, including the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and Breaux Vineyards and Oatlands Plantation in Loudoun.
Monday the group visited three public schools in the Leesburg area. Several of the women said they were impressed with the use of computer technology in the classroom.
Morgoyeva is working to start a children's foundation and said she would like to see Russians continue to help young people succeed.
"A lot of what I saw yesterday [at the schools], I would like to take back with me," she said.
© Copyright, ArCom Publishing, Inc., 2002. Reprinted by permission, Loudoun Times-Mirror, Nov. 13, 2002.
[Reprinted with Permission]