President’s Letter 11/2021

I had occasion in the past few months to dig into boxes of Linkages archives from the early years of the organization (1980s) until the early 2000s. I found notebook after notebook and file after file of meticulous records kept by the founders of Linkages and early Board members. In meeting minutes, memos, news articles and letters in English and Russian, I saw evidence of a large number of committed people who devoted their time and resources to growing the sister city relationship and to developing positive relations with residents of Novgorod. There was an impressive record of years of activity to educate the Rochester community about the lives and cultures of a society that was alleged to be our adversary. The creativity and passion Linkages members brought to the task were amazing.

In this newsletter we focus on a contemporary member of Linkages who brings his own creativity and passion to open up a window into Russian culture in his own unique way. Rand Darrow, as you will read, has been creating art and writing poems and stories based on themes and characters in traditional Slavic culture. As Russian society becomes more linked to the global culture though communication via “the cloud,” Rand reminds us of the themes and characters that have populated Russian literature folklore in the traditional culture.

We also update you on Linkages’ efforts to carry on with sister city activities in spite of the obstacles posed by the pandemic. We offer our assessment for projects in the next year and share what little news we have about the Covid situation in Novgorod. Finally, we invite you to join us in the resumption of an in-person Russian Friendship Concert in Kilbourn Hall on January 6.

Thanks to the support of the Board and members of Linkages like you, we look forward to resuming a full complement of events and activities in the coming year.

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