BIRTH OF ROTARY IN RUSSIA
Rotary in Russia is about 7 years old. Still during this comparatively short time 18 clubs have been established west of the Ural mountuins: in Moscow, St.Petersburg, Lomonosov, Dubna, Vyatka, Nizhny Novgorod (Kstovo), Saratov, Naryan-Mar, Murmansk, Vladimir, Tolyatti, Tver. During these years they have accommplishen a number of humanitarian projects, mainly medical, which helped to provide medicines and equipment to many hospitals and polyclinics. Hundreds of school-students, students, post-graduates and young specialists have upgraded their qualifications in the countries of Europe and America.
Multiple businesses and personal contacts with Rotarians from different countries have allowed the strengthening of mutual understanding among peoples, and they have performed other tasks which helped our country to overcome many crisis situations in food, medical care and edication.
New provisional Rotary Clubs are in the process of organization in Ekaterinburg, Vyborg, Kaliningrad and Sochi.
The activities of the clubs in western of Russia and in Belorussia are coordinated by the Presidential Extension Administrator, who is appointed by Rotary International. For the next two years this is going to be Jorma Lampen, a member of the Helsinki North Rotary Club, Past a 1420 District Governor.
There are 18 clubs in Russia on the eastem side of the Urals today (in Chita, Irkutsk, Khabarovsk, Magadan region, Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, Vladivostok, Yakutsk, Yelezov). They are part of the Rotary district 5010 whose Governor is Caroline I.Johns.
BIRTH OF ROTARY IN RUSSIA
In year 1988 three Rotarians from Sweden asked Mr.Pankin, USSR ambassador to Sweden for an audience so that they could speak about Rotary movement. During their conversation they told the ambassador in detail of Rotary tasks and targets, ideology and philosophy. Mr.Pankin supported the idea of a possibility to create Rotary clubs in the USSR. But the problem was that in our country there did not exist any non-government organisation that worked on the same Rotary principles, so RI did not make any decisions in this regard. In spite of the fact that foreign Rotarians participated in the non-government programs and exchanges with USSR, there was no information about Rotary in the USSR, to say nothing about an idea to establish such clubs in the country. Some time later the first Secretary of the embassy, Mr.Losin, prepared an in-depth information sheet about the Rotary movement and forwarded it to the Union of Soviet Friendship Societies and the "USSR - Sweden" society. Several members of the Board of the society liked the idea of estabilshing a club with such principles. The fall of 1988 invited by "USSR-Sweden" society, two Swedish came to Moscow: Rotarians: Mr.Axel Murray, of Stockholm (now honoured member of Moscow Rotary club), and Mr.Vikar Saefvestad of Jonkoeping. The Russian hosts were very serious about the visit, and the Rotarians, who had had no authority to discuss creation of Rotary in the USSR, instead were to inform the Soviet people about the movement, and had been given broad opportunities to do so. There were interviews with "Izvestia", the "Time" show on central TV, and "Moskovskie Novosti" newspaper and radio. In Moscow they had met such dignitaries as: academician Petrakov, Tatyana Zaslavskaya, Alexander Shokhin (not a prominent figure on the Russia's political scene at that time), Vladimir Gusinski (not a well-known businessmen then). The Swedish Rotarians also visited Tallinn, where till 1940 there had existed Rotary clubs, formed jointly with the Estonian Friendship Society. They also found the building of the Tallinn Rotary club - it turned out to be the city Palace of Pioneers. Unfortunately they did not find a single living pre-war Rotarian. Things did not go any further than information.
In the spring of 1989 a return visit took place. The delegation had consisted of people convinced of the necessity of creating such clubs in our country, and those who wanted to learn more about the club's everyday work, traditions and laws. After visits to rnany Rptary clubs, members of the delegation (Alexander Makartsia, Alexander Tarnavski, Sergey Yushin and Estonian Tynu Karu) came home with a desire to prepare ground for the foundation of new clubs in Moscow and Tallinn. In 1989 contacts of Rotary International with USSR had become more active, but no decision to start a club in the country was made. Only in the spring of 1990, after a visit of Mr.Rolf Kljarich, RI ex-president, to Moscow, (and his meeting with the first deputy minister of Foreign Affairs Mr.Petrovski, who had guaranteed the safety of future Rotarians), was the first Rotary club in Moscow created. RI decided that Finnish district 142 world supervise creation of the club in Moscow.
On June 5th, 1990 in the presence of numerous guests from abroad and RI headquarters, RI ex-president Mr.Rolf Kljarich among them, the Moscow club received its Charter. Among thefirst members of the club were such prominent people as: Prof.Mozolin (President), Prof. Y.Belenkov, cardiologist, Y.Nagibin, writer, and other representatives of Moscow business, academic and cultural world.
For almost two years Mr. Yuri Luzhkov, Mager of Moscow, was an active member of the club, and today he is the club's honoured member.