News & Events

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Sacred Karakol Valley

After breakfast and a few goodbyes on the morning of the 27th, we set forth on the first leg of our “West-East Transect” excursion. Our group of twelve (nine visitors and an interpreter, leader, and driver) piled into a Gazelle – the equivalent of a large American minivan, but without the comforts. This vehicle was…

Traditional Russian singers in Ust-Koksa

Old Believers, village life, etc.

After breakfast yesterday, we all piled into the bus and drove 20 minutes east down the valley, crossing over the Katun River and into the village of Verkhniy Uimon (oo-ee-mon’). I’ve been here several times, but it’s always worth another visit. It was settled 300-odd years ago by Russian Orthodox “Old Believers” fleeing repression in…

More Ust-Koksa

During an overly technical set of presentations yesterday afternoon, I took the opportunity to slip out for a walk and talk with a colleague. We set out on the rickety wire suspension footbridge across the Koksa River adjacent to our hotel. I’ve never been fond of these sorts of bridges, the way they bounce and…

In which I finally reach Altai…

When I reach Altai following the visa debacle, the actual work of the trip begins. In overview, my trip has a number of phases and goals. Overall, I am hoping to meet with as many conservation folk as I can, renewing contact with existing colleagues and cultivating new relationships as well. The first part of…

Illegal hunting case reopened after huff

Illegal Hunting Case Reopened After Huff The Moscow Times, 12 November 2009, By Maria Antonova Investigative Committee chief Alexander Bastrykin reopened an investigation Wednesday into whether charges should be filed against survivors of a party of government officials who were illegally hunting endangered sheep when their helicopter crashed in January. Bastrykin’s announcement came as an…

Interesting op-ed on ethnic autonomies in Russia

Existing Federal System Said a Threat to Rights of All Russia’s Citizens 05 May 2009 By Paul Goble / Special to The Moscow Times The existing system of ethnic autonomies in the Russian Federation — including both republics, such as Tatarstan, and autonomous districts, such as Chukotka — “violates the civil rights” of all Russian…

Moscow Times: Prosecutors Investigate Altai Hunt

Prosecutors Investigate Altai Hunt 06 May 2009/The Moscow Times Prosecutors said Tuesday that they have opened an investigation into senior federal and regional officials purportedly hunting illegally from a helicopter in January when the aircraft crashed in the Altai region, killing seven. The four survivors of the Jan. 9 crash, in which the Kremlin’s envoy…

Rosprirodnadzor finally acts on the helicopter crash…sort of

It looks like we finally have a bit of action by the federal government on the helicopter crash/poaching incident, albeit not all we could have hoped for. I don’t have time for lengthy exact translation today – maybe the Moscow Times will help us out overnight. Quick rundown/rough translation of the first article below my…

Kalbak Tash deer hunting petroglyph

Ongudai to Chui-Oozy (isn’t that a great word?)

(It means “at the mouth of the Chuya River”) On what we thought was our last day in the Karakol Valley, we woke up to warm sunshine. Very exciting after all that rain. We didn’t really have time to get out and enjoy the morning, b/c we were expecting several folks to arrive for a…

Ongudai

We had a pleasant, safe (read “reasonable speed”) trip to Ongudai. We were a bit stressed out, b/c we were trying to meet up with the film crew and they kept changing their schedule such that they were ahead of us. At this point, we could catch up with them IF they didn’t set out…

Chemal and onward

Despite attempts by a shady cab driver to take advantage of us, we paid a fair price for a hair-raisingly fast taxi ride to Chemal, about an hour from Gorno-Altaisk. Chemal is, as always, stunningly beautiful but is more and more built up. It really does look like Switzerland, albeit with smaller mountains. It has…

Back in Altai

Our late and complex arrival at an amazingly bad hotel in Gorno-Altaisk prompts me to catch up on the travel diary…but first a recap of the initial days. We arrived in Barnaul at 5am Saturday morning only somewhat haggard and sleep-deprived. A’s friend and architect colleague Lena N (and her stodgy but friendly boss) met…

Jennifer joins The Altai Project

Since leaving my job at PE last summer, I’ve transitioned smoothly into a variety of consulting activities. Among other brief projects, I’ve interpreted for a visiting group of public health specialists (Sep 06) and organized and co-executed (and interpreted during) another exchange for Russian environmental types in December. I’ve taken on a part-time position with…

Memory Lane – “Learning to Cook Po-Russki” (2006)

This little vignette is going to be published in the forthcoming Bryn Mawr College Alumnae Cookbook. Not exactly sure of the title though… I learned how to cook in Moscow. In the spring of 1992, immediately after the break-up of the Soviet Union, I was living in a run-down 15-story dormitory with 13 other American…

Renewable energy – Altai, Russia to San Francisco!

Here’s my report from a recent Pacific Environment event that I planned and executed. You’ll see that I don’t get much in the way of a mention, but that’s mainly because I did almost all the interpreting and all the running around. It was a ton of fun and I learned a lot too! Alternative…

Heading off to the wild blue… Altai… again (2005)

I’m wrapping up preparations for my next adventure in Russia, July 8-27. This trip is a departure from “the usual” for me, as I’ll be shepherding two gentlemen from a small family foundation that supports our work in the Altai region. They’ve never been to Russia before, and this means that I get to travel…

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