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Encounters with Russia

Citizen visits build understanding between two countries with a history of mistrust

American citizens visited 15 cities across Russia and met with Russian people and notable personalities during a 2018 trip organized by the Center for Citizen Initiatives (CCI).

CCI was founded in 1983 in response to Cold War uncertainty that gripped both countries. Through delegations of citizens from both countries, thousands have gained a more accurate understanding of the situation.

Here a group of six members of the 2018 travel group of 25 recount their experience.

One traveler asked, “How come Russians are so good to us wherever we go across your country, even when the relationship between our countries is so dire?”  Silence fell over the room. Dimitri Babich responded with a smile:

CCI delegations met with Vladimir Pozner, a leading independent journalist who has worked in the US, and Russia, in Soviet times and the present and is a lucid commentator on US-Russia relations. Here is his discussion with the American visitors:

CCI Founder and Director, Sharon Tennison, has lead delegations between Russia and Americans for over 30 years. Sharon shares her insight into the misconceptions Americans and Russians have about each other discussing  ten common myths about Russia:

Dr.Vladimir Kozin, leading expert at the Military-Political Studies Center, Moscow State Institute of International Relations, talks to Americans regarding weapons of mass destruction and what must be done to prevent their use on civilian populations again: Part I

Dr. Dmitri Kozin on nuclear weapons part II

Dr. Dmitri Kozin on nuclear weapons part III

Mikhail Gorbachev needs no introduction in the area of U.S.-Russian relations.  He weighs in on the evolving situation since the days when he and American President Ronald Reagan found common ground to start ending the Cold War. CCI meeting with President Mikhail Gorbachev at the Gorbachev Foundation, September 2018, part 1:

Mikhail Gorbachev and CCI, part 2:

The re-emergence of Russian Orthodoxy. Officially prohibited during the Soviet Union, the Russian Orthodox Church has found a citizenry ready to connect with faith and guidance. CCI Director Sharon Tennison shares her experiences:

The Center for Citizen Initiatives sponsors Citizen-to-Citizen initiatives and exchanges between the United States and Russia in the interests of better relations between our countries. Read more at:

A recent story in The Christian Science Monitor by Fred Weir profiling  Sharon Tennison and CCI :

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