Russian Seasons in Washington, DC

WASHINGTON — 13 events in 13 months. More than 5,000 guests. Cultural events in scale and scope that rivals the most sophisticated social event of the U.S. capital. These achievements boasts organization "Initiative Russian culture in Washington."


All of this — to American youth immersed in Russian culture, and became convinced that the similarities of the Americans and the Russians much more than the differences.


"Our initiative is growing and developing, we have lots of new ideas," — said the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, American University, Peter Starr, who is also the honorary co-chair of the Board of the Initiative Russian culture.


An ambitious undertaking


This initiative was born a year ago "in the bowels" and at the American University in Washington, with the assistance of the Russian Embassy in the United States, led by the Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak and Susan Lerman, a major investor in the real estate market and the famous philanthropist. Lerman this year, about the same time received a medal from the Russian and French embassies in Washington for his contribution to the development of international relations.


One year after the official launch of the "Initiative of Russian culture in Washington" at the Library of Congress, former U.S. Ambassador to Russia John Beyrle said that the mission of the initiative is "a direct impact on U.S. national security."


Ambassador Beyrle, a family whose history since the Second World War, has been linked to Russia — his father, freed from German captivity, fought against Nazi Germany on the side of the Soviet Army — believes that the overall objective of the United States and Russia is a return to the spirit of "pragmatism and common sense "that guided the country in its cooperation during the Second World War.


"Our problem is that since the second half of the 20th century, our relations have moved into a phase of rivalry … This in turn has given rise to negative "mythology", stereotypes and misunderstanding of each other, "- he stressed.


The struggle of the Byerly stereotypes in relations between the U.S. and Russia began long before he became a member of the U.S. State Department in 1983. In the late 70s, after spending several months in a Russian student exchange program, the future diplomat began working with the initiative of international touring exhibitions, the agreement on which Russia and the U.S. signed in 1958.


It was then that John Beyrle, in his own words, he realized that "art is an integral component of international understanding."


Speaking at the festival Initiative Russian Culture at the Library of Congress, which is the largest outside of Russia Russian collection of printed artifacts, a former U.S. ambassador to Russia said that the relations between Russia and the United States once again reached a point where the "heavy artillery" again to become art .


"Heavy Artillery"


The world-renowned musician, conductor Valery Gergiev, the anniversary of the Initiative Russian culture has become the most that neither is the heavy artillery of the Russian art on American soil. On account of his thousand performances in the United States. Gergiev’s own words, not being an American artist, he feels the demand of the American public.


"The Russian and American culture, I think there will inevitably be linked to each other," — said the Russian maestro, adding that international understanding contributes to progress in relations between their countries.


Referring to the US-Russian disagreements on the situation in Syria and Iran, Gergiev said: "We must defend the world. And the world can be protected, if the U.S. and Russia itself will find ways to achieve peace. "


The idea to promote peace through art was close and pianist Denis Matsuev — winner of numerous competitions, and one of the world’s most famous musical virtuosos. His performance at the Library of Congress as part of the anniversary evening Initiative Russian Culture Hall met with a standing ovation. As well as the performance of the ensemble of wind instruments Mariinsky.


"The people — the people. This is the best policy ", — concluded the official part of the evening maestro Gergiev.


"Christmas comes early"


Against this, however, the evening discoveries Russian culture to American students from over.


"Christmas comes early" — were heard cries of young people present, immersion in Russian culture, which continued ballet on ice at the rink, which, by some miracle, in less than two hours, poured into the ceremonial hall of the Library of Congress. Vystuplenie as organizers announced, was given in honor of the upcoming Olympic Games in Sochi in 2014.


To the music of Tchaikovsky, Shostakovich, Rachmaninoff and Ravel students were treated to traditional Russian sweets and shared thoughts about what "it is and should be to live in college." Some began to make plans for an early visit to Russia, or, at least, "immersion" in Russian culture on a regular basis.


The representatives of Russian culture in the Initiative is already had the answer. Through the efforts of the organizers and sponsors, the second year of its work, the Initiative began opening the second kinosezona Russian films. In the autumn of this year the American public plan to introduce the classic TV version of "War and Peace" as well as modern movies "Taxi Blues" and "9 rota".


In 2013, a symposium dedicated to the Russian-American relations during the "cold war" and timed to coincide with the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s speech, delivered at the American University in 1963.


In the summer of 2013 students will ride "on the Russian Leo Tolstoy."

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