Report on Reconnaissance to Altai

May 8-20, 2007

Nina Goncharova, Carol Hiltner, and team


Tuesday, May 8th

Nina and Sergey Platonov delivered Carol Hiltner's paintings to Svetlana Katinova's house, for her to arrange an exhibition in Gorno-Altaisk. Carol was delayed in Novosibirsk with visa registration bureaucracy.


Nina Goncharova, architect, social development consultant, and video producer Lena Belousova, and Sergey Platonov (author of the concept of Altai as a territory for noospheric development) arrived at professional technical college #4 in Biisk, Director Victor Vizier. We agreed that he will send 20 youths and 3 teachers - Nataliya Vladimirovna for those who cannot speak, Dmitri Yeroshkin, a Buryat/Altai scientist, and Nadezhda Kalachkova for music and creating scenarios and performances.


Went to Smolenskaya Village, Altai Region, Met director of professional technical college #82, Director Vladimir Tsikhler, and vice director Valentina Grigorievna Podvoluk; also Vice Head of Smolenskaya Region administration Sergey Trukhin. We invited them to take part in 11th Congress in Turgoyak Lake and they are waiting for our information about this event. They also invited the entire camp to live there in one of the tourist bases on a commercial basis - which of course is not in our current budget. Valentina is very much interested in youth programs and in meeting with us again.


Went to home of Svetlana Katinova in Gorno-Altaisk, met with Andrey Yalbakov, an expert in solar energy. Were joined by Svetlana Matina and Zhanna An. Went to Andrey's family in Gorno-Altaisk, met Andrey's uncle Sergey Toboyev who is a farmer/builder/businessman in Kara-Koba, Ongudai Region and created a technology for producing talkhan, which is food product made of ground seeds. We spoke about construction of banya and toilet for Mikhail Petrov's community - as "our house" - in Nizhni Uimon, and he said the lowest price to build a banya and toilet is 30,000 rubles. They also discussed building an ail; a summer ail would be 30,000 r. and 50,000 for winter ail.


Wednesday, May 9th "Day of Victory"

We went to the main square in Gorno-Altaisk. First we met Alchubaev, head of El Bank; then Sergey Ognyov, Altai Republic Minister of Agriculture; Ageev; Vladimir Petrov assistant in El Kurultai. Petrov brought Gennady Sumin, Minister of Labor and we spoke about festival. Nina asked for 60,000 rubles to cover the costs of instructors and coordinators for youth camp. He invited Zhanna to come to him next week to speak about this situation. Then we met Pildin, a former businessman who now works as Sumin's assistant.


Met Tatyana Anatolyevna Kadina, TV and radio director, Director of All-Russian State Television and Radio company "ราะส."


Went to Svetlana's house, listening about "Altai Sacred" project regarding land and camp in Tyungur. Katya Yeshova joined us. Nina, Sergey, Lena, Andrey, Katya went to Bichiktu-Bo'om village near Ongudai, with blizzard on Seminsky Pass.


Thursday, May 10th

We went to place of land that will belong to Katya. We went to Cordone in Onguday Region, where Katya had her vision about her input regarding archery in common project; we discussed possibilities.


Friday, May 11th

All-Russia Scientific/Practical Conference about creative education in beautiful new Karakol Village school. Minister of Education Trutnyev arrived; eminent people from Moscow and St. Petersburg, and representatives of several regions (Onguday, Chemal, Altai Region, etc.) Nina gave a presentation about the camp. Many people took her business cards. Also Nina spoke with the head of administration of Ongudai Region and Vyacheslav Nikolayevich Ukhanov, head of education department of Ongudai, and invited them to send a delegation.


Met Zhanat Sadypov, relative of Katya, student at Novosibirsk University who lives in Ongudai and wants to help.


Lena, Nina, Sergey, and Andrey went to Ust-Kan to meet with Zhanna An and vice head of administration of Ust Kan region Zaure Pazokpoev, and woman who had participated in January seminar who wanted to help. Spoke about festival, about where to have it. Zaure advised us to visit the youth camp near Ust Kan, gave us a car and we went to the camp. We liked this place. There is an ail in the center and some houses and a dining room and a river, for about 40 people (in houses, but tents can also be used). We went to the home of the owner of this camp, Galina Todoshevna Kanitova, Director of Center of Additional Education. She said there are many things to be done before this camp can be opened. It's possible that the dates of July 1-6 are open. She will come to Ust Kan meeting.


Saturday, May 12th

Nina, Lena, Sergey, Andrey went to Kirlik village to meet with Klara Kipchakova, terlikcha, and to discuss her participation in the festival. Then got onto the same bus that Carol was riding on already. Arrived to Anatoly and Nina Prudnikov's house Lenin St, 8, Ust Koksa. Visited Svetlana and Alexander Vuisokov's family.


Sunday, May 13th

Visited Vasili Otrishko, a master of buildings, who has created his own ethnocultural center at his own home in G-A.


Visited sacred land in Nizhni Uimon prepared for "our house" with "silver healing source" by Mikhail Petrov.


Went to Tyungur, joined Svetlana Katinova and visited her wonderland on the Katun River to feel the place for the festival. We dedicated the land with milk, bread, and fire. Svetlana told us she had arranged for the exhibition of Carol's paintings scheduled to open May 18th at Museum in Gorno-Altaisk. Svetlana Matina arranged the "round table" in Gorno-Altaisk.


Monday, May 14th

Nina, Lena, Sergey, Andrey, and Carol went from Ust Koksa to Ust Kan, where we were met by Zhanna An and Sergey Platonov for meeting with Nataliya Nikolaevna Sabina, head of educational committee in Ust Kan, and Galina Todoshevna Kanitova, Director of Center of Additional Education. Sabina said they will support and accommodate our group for youth camp/expedition on July 1-6, and will work with Zhanna An on this. Galina asked for some support for her camp, and we asked for concrete information about what was needed. Galina offered to help with arranging an exhibition of Carol Hiltner's paintings in Ust-Kan.


Tuesday, May 15th

Wonderfully warm preliminary meeting with Nikolai Taitakov, Vice Head of El Kurultai, with Vice Minister of Agriculture Vladimir Borisovitch __________.


Round table to present the team of "Earth Is a Garden of Peoples" project, and International Youth Festival for Social Creativity "Children of the Earth" to be conducted in Altai in July 2007. Main proposal, from S. Buidisheva, that we submit proposals for funding by Altai Republic government by June 1st. Also received endorsement by Taitakov.



Host: N. Taitakov, ________. Participants: N. Goncharova, C. Hiltner, Zhanna An, Coordinator of Altai 3000 project; Brontoy Bedyurov, head of the Writer's Union, __________; Svetlana Katinova, director of Altai Sacred Complex; Andrey Yalbakov, solar energy expert; Tamara Sadalova, UNESCO representative; Alexander Katinov, Altai elder; Clara Piantivova, journalist; Anna Balina, honored artist; Svetlana Politayeva, deputy assistant; Svetlana Buidisheva, vice minister of Economy and Social Development; Valentina Modorova, head of Institute of Continuing Education for Teachers; Vladimir Kanishev, vice minister of Agriculture; Sergey Mundusov, representative of Ministry of Culture; Svetlana Kindikova, representative of Ministry of Culture; Svetlana Matina, Altai 3000 coordinator; representative of Ministry of Labor.



Went to Writers' Union and met a group of writers and artists, including Gyuselle Elemova, journalist, Tenga village; Tanitpaz Akulova, famous Altai storyteller; Nikolai Pashtakov, writer; Galina Taptigina, director of Chui-O'ozi Park


Then we rushed to Museum to start preparing paintings for exhibition, which we did as a team until evening.


Nina and Carol both went shopping for shoes because both of us had holes in our shoes. However, we didn't buy shoes that replaced the worn shoes, but rather, shoes to wear for the gala exhibition opening.


Evening kitchen table meeting with Nina, Carol, Svetlana Matina, Zhanna, Svetlana Katinova, Katya Yeshova, and Katya's college-age son Erkomel. Regarding the proposed re-furbished computer project, Zhanna and Katya explained that, since September, computers labs are now installed in every school, new computers are readily available on credit (with notebooks as cheap as $400), and internet access is available for $100 installation and about $10/month).


Then, in anticipation of our meeting with the Minister of Tourism tomorrow, the whole group had a truly heart-rending conversation regarding land ownership for the indigenous people. Apparently, when the federal laws were enacted (with a time-line) in 1992 to enable people to own their own homes, the people of Altai were still living according to the culturally integrated idea of collectively held lands. The money given to municipalities for these registrations was spent on other things; and the deadlines passed. Then, gradually, the federal government began to sell the prime river-front land of which it had ownership, and the Altai government began to sell the forest lands the same way. The village lands are now mostly unregistered and at risk.


May 16th

Entire team visited Evgeny Vladimirovich Larin, Minister of Culture. He totally supported Svetlana Katinova's project and our youth festival. He spoke about the necessity to preserve Altai's environment while developing ecological, educational, cultural, ethnocultural, extreme tourism, with accent to ethnocultural tourism. Vice Minister Sergey Petrovich Sladkov. He said write a letter requesting tents, and he would support.


Met with Rosa and Liuda Chunzhekova and visited the land for their camp near Ust Cema, spoke about their ethnocultural complex to be part of our entire network. Agreed that Liuda will come and bring orphans to our camp. Rosa will help with our connection with Finance Ministry where she works


May 17th

Worked all day to prepare for exhibition, and documented results thus far. At museum, met Michael Cantzler, General Consul for Germany in Novosibirsk, and wife (a Brazilian).


Group had very interesting television interview that was supposed to be about our children's program, but actually the interviewer was a fundamentalist Christian (Altai woman Kemine Satunova), who only asked us about sin and Satanism. 


May 18th

Went to OVIR, spoke with Irina Albertovna Munatova who said that they will get our guests registered!!! The Federal law has changed so they can register any invitation. And she gave us forms to be filled out beforehand.


Visited Vice Minister of Culture Vladimir Filimonov. He said that we will be included into the program of RODNIKI celebration in Ust-Koksa in July and asked foreign participants to be dressed in their national clothes (also ask Theresa to bring "Earth" balloons). Filimonov promised to call Olga Semerenko to organize a place for us inside the celebration. He suggested that we take part in El Oyin celebration in 2008 as an international team.


Nina visited Ageev and spoke about Carol's paintings, international cooperation, and the youth camp and expedition. We agreed to send a program to him and a letter to the Head of Altai Republic, which he promised deliver personally, as well as to take part in our summer event.

We visited Natalya Saimonova and Aisulu Mihailovna _________ - she is in the economical department of ministry of culture and ready to guide us.


We met briefly with Ezher Tatin, who said that he is, in fact, still working for the Altai government as the representative of Altai to Siberian Federal Region.


Nina met with Ageev, who expressed intent to be present at the meeting on July 5th, and to pass our personal letter to the head of the republic, and help us get the tents.


Carol met Adar Soumin, Vice Minister of Finance, in the hallway. He said that the need for help with communication infrastructure is still critically important, even if as Zhanna expressed, there has been considerable improvement. Carol needs to contact by phone.


There was a GREAT opening ceremony and exhibition in the Anohin Government Museum of Altai Republic. We met director of eco center Vladimir Petrovitch Pisin who is interested in our cooperation for children and who has a bus.


Carol was congratulated by the other artists whose openings were occurring on the same night.


Rimma Michailovna Yerkinova - a director of the museum - suggested prolonging Carol's exhibition until fall and invited us to go to Anos village to visit Choros Gurkin's museum at 20 of May.  Carol would like paintings to be given to museum, with sponsorship of $10,000 to cover my costs. We also met Tamara Todosheva - a journalist from Anos who invited us to her house.


Nina met Prokopy Yelbayev, an artist who lives in Kizil Ozyok village. Loves making sculptures of wood and plaster. Nina invited him to camp.


Saturday, May 19th

On our behalf, Svetlana spoke with Zoya Kazagacheva about throat-singing tapes. They have won a grant and will start digitizing the records. Svetlana works for the institute where the tapes are kept, and will help us to make connection.


Went to flat of artist Elena Chebotaryova. Saw her wonderful paintings and were presented with books of reproductions. Met there Evgeny Matochkin, expert on petroglyphs, whom Carol had been trying to contact. Will follow up.


Sunday, May 20th

Galina and Alexei Sotnikov in Chuisky village. Arranged for expedition to stay with them on July 4th. Galina promised a bus for children for the expedition.


All worked during the whole period to get completed paperwork for seven nominees for US Government Exchange Program "Open World," for travel by four Altai "young leaders" to the US in September to meet with members of the Cherokee Native American tribe.