CCI’s September 2019 Delegation Arrived Moscow Sept 2

I received this letter from Sharon Tennison this morning. She encouraged all of us to share it.

Subject CCI’s September 2019 Delegation Arrived Moscow Sept 2
From Sharon Tennison
To marilyn@hagle.com
Date Sun 23:39

Dear CCI Friends and Subscribers,

A belated note to you. The rigors of getting our large CCI delegation to Moscow on September 2, plus starting Expert meetings less that 24 hours later (for a total of 10 such meetings) plus a visit to the new Gulag Museum, didn't allow time to inform you until now. Today we finished our meetings in Moscow and flew to our regional cities across Russia.

Here is the recap: The four days in Moscow unfolded with speakers on the international, domestic, political, security and economic environments in Russia today. We had two-hour Q&A sessions with independent TV journalist Vladimir Pozner; strategic and nuclear weapons analyst Vladimir Kozin; political analyst Peter Kortunov, standing in for Andrey Kortunov of the Russian International Affairs Council; Pavel Velikhov, son of Evgeny Velikhov, Gorbachev's partner in building peristroika and glasnost; Richard Sobel, U.S. businessman in Moscow for 30 years; Chris Weafer, CEO of Macro Advisory and former chief strategist at Sberbank, Russia's largest state bank; Dr. Vera Lyalina and Dr. Igor Borshenko, on Russia's private and public medical care; Dmitri Babich, TV journalist; Alexander Korobko, documentary filmmaker and two young persons from Donbass. President Gorbachev's health prevented him from speaking to the group this year, but his trusted translator Pavel Palazhchenko spoke with us. In addition we had the opportunity to speak to numerous young Moscovites from a number of professions arranged by a Moscow friend of CCI. All of this in four days!

The quick take-aways from our discussions:

–U.S. abrogation of arms control agreements and the continuing expansion of U.S. military bases and U.S./NATO military deployments around the Russian boarder have Russian security experts and citizens extremely worried.

–Sanctions from the annexation of Crimea are having both positive and negative effects. New Russian industries have been developed to provide foods and goods not available due to U.S. sanctions. This is making Russia "food independent" which is great, but loans for expansion of small and middle size businesses are difficult to obtain.

–The Russian economy has slowed from the rapid growth of the past decade. However, no country can continue to grow at the rate Russia did during the past decades. To stimulate the economy, the Russian government has a new five-year National Projects plan that will put $400 Billion or 23% of the GDP into the economy through big infrastructure projects. The Putin administration is staking its bets for economic growth on these projects to forestall social unrest due to stagnate wages, lowering of social benefits and other potentially disruptive issues that could affect the political environment.

Today September 7, the entire CCI delegation broke into dyads and tryads to visit 23 Russian cities, and tonight are likely already asleep in up to 10 time zones across Russia. CCI Regional Coordinators in Barnaul, Simferopol, Yalta, Sebastopol, Yekaterinburg, Irkutsk, Kaliningrad, Kazan, Krasnodar, Kungur, Perm, Kazan, Nizhny Novgorod, Krasnodar, Novosibirsk, Orenburg, Perm, Sergiev Posad, Torzhok, Tver, Ufa, and Yakutsk will introduce members of our delegation to life outside of Moscow. This major logistical challenge has gone smoothly except for our most experienced traveler, Ann Wright, who missed her plane to Yakutsk! Traffic between our Oksana Hotel and Domodedova airport on the south side of Moscow took over 4.5 hours and by that time the plane had taken off. Beware if you use DME airport in the future!

With politicians and government officials taking decisions today that create DEATH AND DESTRUCTION for citizens of our world, we MUST stand for POLICIES THAT ENCOURAGE LIFE, not war and death. They MUST take into consideration the hopes and dreams of fellow citizens of our world, no matter where they live, THEY WANT TO LIVE IN PEACE with opportunities for their children, instead of death and destruction for democratic and ideologically drive purposes!

Expect a shower of FotoJournals and reports over the next three weeks.

Please forward them to your friends, families, colleagues and business partners.

For those who resist, ask them to sign up for 2020 CCI trips to Russia to examine this country themselves.

Russia is not a perfect country, nor are we. It's time to clean up our own country rather than demonizing and maligning Russia.

No proofers around, please excuse midnight errors. S.

Sharon Tennison
Center for Citizen Initiatives
For more information about the Center for Citizen Initiatives, visit https://ccisf.org/.
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12 users have voted.

Comments

earthling1's picture

I had no idea CCI people were traveling all over Russia.
Kudos to them and to you for sharing.

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8 users have voted.
mhagle's picture

@earthling1

I am certainly no expert. Read Wizard's comment below. He is right in the middle of it all.

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4 users have voted.

Marilyn

"Make dirt, not war." eyo

thanatokephaloides's picture

..... can read their website here or their Wikipedia article here.

Smile

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6 users have voted.

"I say enough! If Israel wants to be the only superpower in the Middle East then they can put their own asses on the line and do it themselves. I want to continue to eat."
-- snoopydawg

@thanatokephaloides
The CCI trip to Russia to create dialog and inform is a good thing. We need lots more of that. I have a hard time convincing my friends, mostly Liberals, to travel to Russia. They are all fully propagandized. It's bad enough to read the NYT, Wapo, CNN and others and hear total lies about Russia, but to hear them repeated by intelligent friends as if the lies were real facts, is very discouraging.

So I have been a one person fact-finding operation about Russia. As most people find when they do this all common assumptions are wrong. Russia is much, much bigger than the stereotypes that appear in the MSM or from the "experts". I have visited Russia 11 times since 2014. My goal is to talk to as many people from all walks of life and to talk to foreigners who visit Russia often and have a good working knowledge of the country. I have visited Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sochi, Kazan, Yekaterinburg, Irkutsk and am on my way to Vladivostok. In total I have spent around 12 months here. I have talked to people from all continents except Antarctica who visit Russia and have formed an opinion. I talk to all age groups and from all eras, except the time of the Tsars. I find that those from the Soviet era have fascinating tales. I have one friend who was high up in the Politburo. I could go on for pages and pages, but I would just like to summarize as a comment on this excellent essay.

Russia and the US should, in theory, be excellent allies. We are very similar, large countries with vast resources, an educated population, great technology and common problems, especially terrorism, but also economic prosperity. At some point in history we will be allies, but not for a very long time.

So, in my opinion, what is the problem? Well, it's 99% the US. The US as the self proclaimed indispensable nation is incapable of understanding the world from the perspective of another very major player. The US has two acceptable modes for Russia - 1) Do as we say, be a lapdog like most of the EU, or 2) break apart or collapse. The US works aggressively towards both of these goals. Russia understands this extremely well and has taken considerable steps to immunize herself. I could go into the details here but I don't have the time or space.
Despite the differences Russia is more than interested in working with the US on critical issues of common interest, such as strategic arms control. The US now seems to have only the interest of breaking treaties, under the strategy that the US has ten times the military budget and without strings can develop their way to total military superiority. This is a fantasy, and only makes the world a much, much more dangerous place.
The CCI initiative is a very good idea although it is somewhat myopic and condescending. Russia will willingly embrace it as that is their style. The problem of Russian-US relationship can only be fixed in Washington, and could, in fact, be fixed overnight. There are too many vested interests in Washington to allow this to happen.
If you have any questions of me please ask away. It's 10 PM now in Irkutsk as I write this, and 10 AM in Boston. Good morning to you all.

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9 users have voted.

Capitalism has always been the rule of the people by the oligarchs. You only have two choices, eliminate them or restrict their power.

mhagle's picture

@The Wizard

You might enjoy going to their website and reading about last year's September trip. They did the same sort of thing where they split up and went to all different parts of the country. I found the report from Crimea to be especially encouraging.

You might want to email Sharon if you aren't doing that already. She writes back and she would be especially interested in your efforts.

What a great comment. I would love to read your pages and pages. Such important work you are doing! Thank you!!

I posted this letter to Facebook as well. Lots of russiagaters there.

I still have a third cousin in Norway who lives about 10 miles from the Russian border. And I am just plain anti-war everywhere. One note of interest to me from last year's report is that the farmers like the ag sanctions. They are growing their own food and crappy big ag U.S. products are not getting dumped on their market. Sometimes sanctions make a country stronger and more independent, Cuba being another example of that. They grow their own food now and use way less oil because they transitioned from tractors to oxen.

Are you in Russia right now?

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6 users have voted.

Marilyn

"Make dirt, not war." eyo

@mhagle
Yes, I woke up this morning On lake Baikal. Off today to meet people and explore. Thanks for the contact info. I did read about their last trip. Had local Georgian food for dinner. A favorite among Russians.

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5 users have voted.

Capitalism has always been the rule of the people by the oligarchs. You only have two choices, eliminate them or restrict their power.

mhagle's picture

@The Wizard

Please keep me updated if you can. All the best to you.

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3 users have voted.

Marilyn

"Make dirt, not war." eyo

mhagle's picture

@thanatokephaloides

I-m so happy

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4 users have voted.

Marilyn

"Make dirt, not war." eyo