Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Arizona Russian Festival: Objective and Critical review, Assessment and Analysis.

Yefim Toybin
Phoenix, AZ
January 18, 2011 @ 21:00

If you don’t firmly believe that moral and ethics nowadays are important as well as a person’s integrity and dignity, you shall not read this article.


The article below in any ways is directed against the volunteers, artists, performers and other staff members involving in the festival. They had contributed their own time, effort, possibly money, and talent to this important action.
I am saying, thank you to them.
Arizona is one of many states in the nation where the Russian speaking community is quite small, very diverse, and absolutely uncoordinated. For the past several years it has grown mainly due to new settlers from other states and the fifth wave of immigration from former Soviet Union, predominately from the Russian Federation and Ukraine.
In general, the Russian Americans in Arizona are not spoiled by the number of the Russian cultural functions; therefore, any new event, external or internal, becomes hot news and gets a lot of attention. I firmly believe that my summary, facts, and analysis will be very helpful to people who may or will organize the next festival. People are looking for clean, credible and reputable organizers who will realize that their personalities as well as their actions are to be moral, ethical, legal and transparent.

On November 20th, 2010 the Arizona Russian Festival took place on the premises of Glendale Community College. It appeared to be a big, significant and resonant act. Of course, to plan on, organize and carry out such a huge cultural project you need finances; to attract people, you have to advertise your event.

At first, the information about the Arizona Russian Festival was posted on notoriously known website “RUSSIANAZ.ORG”, site that is run by a volunteer (prominent member) of Shield Foundation. Shield Foundation (AKA-Arizona Russian Center) is well known to many people in Arizona and around the nation. The “Russianaz.org”, a cyber puppet and powerful weapon of the Shield Foundation (coincidently the two sites have the same IP) has been often used to cyber bullying people. The most intriguing fact about this site is that it is run by Mr. Incognito and all the defamatory, slanderous, and hate-related articles are anonymous. To many of us it shall remind the old Soviet’s methods of purging its own citizens just because some one could write an “anonimky.”
PS In my e-mail I had asked Julia about her relationship with the site named above. I received silence in return.

In addition, the “RUSSIANAZ.ORG” in conjunction with another former (may be current) volunteer for the Shield had become main sponsors of the Festival. Only after the Festival, the name of the “RUSSIANAZ.ORG” has been removed from the festival’s sponsor's. This fact speaks for itself.

Furthermore, the chief organizer, disclosed to the public only two things: her first name and e-mail address. Very unusual and strange for a person, who became a public figure and was looking for community support. Most of the festival leaders provide very detailed information about themselves because credibility and reputation are critically important in order to gain public support. Just recently, as of December 27, 2010 (after the festival) Julia has posted her full name (Julia Stepanova)along with her picture and short bio on the Net).

Only one name for the festival’s chief, scandalous website, very doubtful sponsors, unclear goals and objectives, and etc. prompted me to address my reasonable questions to the primary source of information - Julia. She “respectfully” declined meeting with me for an interview, so I e-mailed her my inquires. She never replied to me. She has left me no other options rather to collect all the info I was seeking from the public sources and other people.

Much more to come. Stay connected To be continued.

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