Governor Welcomes Russian Delegation to Maine

August 17, 2011

Visit presents opportunity to expand on important economic and cultural relationships

For Immediate Release: August 17, 2011 Contact: Adrienne Bennett (207) 287-2531

Augusta, Maine – On Thursday, August 18th a Russian Delegation representing the Arkhangelsk Regional Assembly of Deputies will visit Maine. The three Delegates, all members of the Duma, the regional legislature in Archangel, will be in Maine for seven days.

This particular visit originated from an invitation extended by Governor Paul LePage for representatives to visit the State. “It is my pleasure to welcome our friends from the Arkhangelsk Region to the State of Maine. I believe these visits are mutually beneficial and help us to better understand cultural and economic ties between our states, nations and systems of Government,” says Governor LePage.

The Delegates have ties to Maine through two separate Sister City partnerships, Kotlas-Waterville Area Sister City connection and the Greater Portland-Archangel partnership. Ken Green of the Kotlas-Waterville Area Sister City Connection has been involved with the planning of this trip and is excited to welcome back their friends from the Russian north. “This continues a series of visits starting twenty years ago with educational, cultural, medical and political exchanges. We hope to continue and expand these valuable exchanges,” said Green.

Their visit will include trips to the State House to meet with State agencies and members of the Legislature, business tours in Portland and Waterville, a trip to the University of Maine Orono, and a dinner hosted by the Governor at the Blaine House. Also notable, at 2:00 p.m. on the day of their arrival, an Arctic Convoy memorial wreath laying ceremony will take place at Fort Allen Park on the Eastern Promenade in Portland.

In addition to the Sister City connections, there is a strong relationship between Maine and Archangel that dates back to World War II. During this time, convoys from America formed up in and sailed from Casco Bay to reach the arctic ports of Murmansk and Archangel. More than 3000 men died on the Arctic Convoys. This month, August 2011 commemorates the 70th anniversary of the first Allied merchant ship convoy into Archangel in World War II.