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Magadan Exhibit & Presentation
Exhibit: 22 August 2013 - 27 September 2013 Presentation: 22 September 2013, 2:00 - 4:00 p.m.

      As part of its year-long celebration of the 250th Anniversary of Catherine the Great's Manifesto inviting the Germans to Russia, the Center for Volga German Studies is hosting a photo exhibition: Magadan: Life in the North.

      The exhibition of photos by Pavel Zhdanov and Andrey Osipov will run from August 25th to September 27th. The exhibition is being held in the Sylvester Library on the Concordia University campus at 2800 NE Liberty St., Portland, Oregon. It is free, and the public is invited to attend.

      Dr. Lawrence Khlinovski-Rockhill will also present Magadan: Life for an Alaskan in the Soviet Far North East on Sunday, September 22, from 2:00 - 4:00 p.m. in the Center for Volga German Studies at Concordia University, 2800 NE Liberty St., Suite 300, in Portland, Oregon. This event is also free, and the public is invited to attend.

      Dr. Khlinovski-Rockhill will share his Russian experiences as the first and only American living in what was then a closed Soviet city: standing in endless lines, shopping in almost food-less shops, ration cards for vodka, eggs only sometimes and coffee never, always a string bag, no fresh vegetables from November to February, the nearby Stalinist forced labor camp (Gulag Butygychag), and many other experiences.

Dr. Khlinovski-Rockhill's biographical information:
      Dr. Khlinovski-Rockhill's interest in Russia and the Soviet Union began back in the days of the Cold War during the 1950's. His mother had bought him a Zenith Transoceanic world band radio, and late at night he would listen to the BBC and Radio Moscow. The American press was full of information about the USSR, and so he thought it would be good to hear from the other side, Radio Moscow. He later found himself teaching history in Soldotna, Alaska, when he realized that the history of Alaska was the history of Russia. The Soviet Union was a very close neighbor of Alaska, yet could not have any regular people-to-people contact due to the "Ice Curtain" across the Bering Sea that separated the people on both sides.
      In 1987, his Soviet Studies Program included a pen pal program with Magadan School Number One. Letters were written, sent, and read by students on both sides of the "Ice Curtain." His students did extensive reading about the life of ordinary people, families, children, and workers in the USSR. Each day a Russian samovar would provide hot water for the students to drink Russki Chai (Russian tea) during their lesson. This was the only program in the State of Alaska where students were also studying the Russian Language.
      Then in February of 1989, after extensive communication with Governor Vyacheslav Kobets of Magadan, and Lubov Shaitanova, Director of School Number One, the first Magadan-Alaska Educational Exchange Program took place. Dr. Khlinovski-Rockhill took two teachers and three of his students and flew to Magadan with Governor Kobets' Aeroflot jet that had brought 90 Soviets as the guests of the State of Alaska. This was the first Aeroflot flight from the USSR to Alaska. Almost at the same time he initiated the first exchange program between the University of Alaska and Magadan Pedagogical Institute, now North Eastern State University. In 1989, University President Evgeni Kokorev invited him to come and to teach at North Eastern, and he took a two year leave of absence and went to live and teach in Magadan from 1989 to 1991, the last two years of the Soviet Union.
      Dr. Khlinovski-Rockhill considers Magadan to be his Russian "home town" and has returned to teach and visit almost annually since 1991. He considers it to be a great privilege to have had the opportunity to be the first Alaskan/American to live and teach in Magadan when it was a closed Soviet city, even to Soviet citizens. These were the most interesting years of his teaching career.
      In 2010, he and his wife worked with Okhotnik Publishing House (Magadan) professional photographers Pavel Zhdanov and Andrey Osipov to organize the first Magadan: 'The People and the Place' exhibit at the Canadian Circumpolar Institute's 50th Anniversary celebration at Rutherford Library, University of Alberta. In 2011 he returned to Salem, Oregon where he, along with his wife and Pavel Zhdanov and Andrey Osipov organized the second and third exhibits (at Willamette University in Salem, Oregon, and at the University of Alaska Anchorage Library in Anchorage, Alaska, respectively); Magadan: The People and the Place. The current exhibit will travel to the Scott Polar Research Institute at Cambridge University in England in 2014.

Last updated 13 September 2013.