In a measure of just how much things have changed since the Cold War, New Hampshire this week is hosting a group of Russian journalists here to learn from their American counterparts how the press helps keep government open and accountable.
Four "delegates" and a facilitator will visit media companies and nonprofit organizations, take in some cultural events and shopping, and stay with local families.
The visit is sponsored by the Open World Leadership Center, an international exchange program housed in the Library of Congress. The World Affairs Council of New Hampshire is the local partner for their stay here.
An opening reception was held Saturday evening at the Nackey S. Loeb School of Communications in Manchester. Tim Horgan, associate director of the World Affairs Council, welcomed the newly arrived visitors with a "traditional" American meal — macaroni and cheese.
"Very tasty!" pronounced Tatiana Pozdniakova, a newspaper reporter from St. Petersburg. She won the trip as a prize in a journalism contest in her country.
Horgan told those attending the reception, including host families and board members of WACNH, that their guests are here to learn "how the media can help keep government open and how nonprofits can help advocate on the state level."
The visitors all speak some English, but they shared their stories in Russian, through translator Irina Borisenkova, a university professor who is the trip facilitator.
Aleksey Maslov writes and takes photos, and teaches photography at a univer. sity. He's interested in learning more about how mass media operates in the United States, he told the group.
Vladimir Gritsenko, a journalist from Omsk, a city in Siberia, works at a state television station and also teaches at a local university. He wants to "see how families live here in the United States and also to tell you how we live," he said.
Maksim Petrov previously worked in marketing, promotion and as a journalist for a state television station. He now works at a commercial radio station. He said it's "an amazing gift" to be on this trip.
He said he believes Americans and Russians share many common interests. "We are interested in education being accessible, health services being of good quality and the environment being clean and nice."
Petrov closed in English: "Thank you so much, from Russia with love."