Tuesday, April 25, 2000
Abilene gives Western farewell
to delegates from new sister city
By Andre Coe
Reporter-News Staff Writer
Abilene bid farewell to seven Russian visitors
with a traditional Texas dinner of beans and brisket and some
country-western dancing Monday night at the Abilene Civic Center.
The group from Chita, Russia, is the fourth
international delegation to visit the Big Country and become an
official sister city of Abilene. The three previous groups were
from Corinth, Greece; Herrlisheim, France; and Rio Cuarto, Argentina.
Chita Mayor Alexandre Sedine said he liked
everything about his visit. Speaking through interpreter
and delegate Nikolay Efimov, Sedine said,
Everything (was enjoyable)
beginning with the hospitality of Texas. Then he got back
to eating his slice of brisket, which he said was quite
tasty but quite different from traditional Russian, pointing
to a jalapeno pepper and adding, especially your chili pepper.
A few moments later Sedine and the delegates
got a laugh out of the mayor breaking all four prongs on his plastic
fork while trying to slice a piece of brisket.
The idea for a Russian sister city first
began in 1996 when a local Abilene Rotary Club member traveled
to Chita to start a Rotary Club there. Since then, the two cities
have exchanged students and teachers and have sent various business
people and delegates back and forth.
Sister City Committee member Jim Aneff helped
bring the delegates to Abilene to make the two cities sisterhood
This has been a wonderful experience
for most of these folks because most of them have never been to
the United States, Aneff said. Its important.
With the exception of Efimov, all of the
delegates were first-time visitors to America. The group included
Yury Kuznetsov, director of the Chita regional analytical agency;
Vassili Glazirine, an ecological scientist and a director of the
Chita Technical University; Efimov, the head of the Chita telephone
exchange department; Sedine; Vladimir Bajenov, chairman of the
Chita city parliament; Lioubov Bajenova, banker and Bajenovs
wife, and Valerik Akopian, public prosecutor of Chita.
Chita is a city of about 370,000 people
in the southern portion of Siberia. The temperature there frequently
ranges from -24.7 degrees Celsius to just 20 degrees above freezing.
If the Russian delegates dont
have sore feet and overshaken hands by this time, then we havent
done our jobs, Abilene Mayor Grady Barr said.
The group will depart from City Hall at
7 a.m. today to return to Russia.
Contact staff writer Andre Coe at 676-6735
Abilene Reporter-News / Texnews / E.W. Scripps Publications