In a time when the political climate paints our country and Russia as very distrustful of one another, we’re bringing you a show about a time when Alaskans and Russians were reunited and found they shared a common heritage. We’re going to hear incredible tales from key players in melting the Alaska-Russia Ice Curtain in the mid-1980s discuss how Alaska helped end the Cold War, launching a 30-year era of productive commercial and personal relations across the Bering Strait.
- Jim Stimpfle – a Nome realtor whose stories of interactions with Russia through his Native wife’s family inspired him to engage in “Balloon Diplomacy” and other efforts to open the Strait. Stimpfle has visited Russia many times and helped convince Nome merchants to accept Russian rubles.
- Dave Heatwole – a former Alaska oil company executive who caught the “Russia bug” through the Alaska State Chamber of Commerce and traveled numerous times to Russia as one of the few Alaska businessmen who were successful working there. Heatwole even met his wife working in Russia.
- Elena Kostenko-Farkas – West High School’s Russian language teacher and founder of the Anchorage public school Russian immersion program. Farkas moved to Alaska from Magadan, Russia, in 1992, operated a Russian bookstore in Anchorage and promotes Russian cultural understanding.
- David Ramseur,David Ramseur is a Visiting Scholar in Public Policy at the Institute of Social and Economic Research at the University of Alaska Anchorage and is the author of Melting the Ice Curtain: The Extraordinary Story of Citizen Diplomacy on the Russia-Alaska Frontier, telling the story of how inspiration, courage, and persistence by citizen-diplomats bridged a widening gap in superpower relations..
RECORDED: Friday, December 1st, 2017 at 49th Brewing Company.
BROADCAST: Tuesday, February 20th, 2018. 2:00 pm – 3:00 p.m. AKT
Addressing Alaskans features local lectures and forums recorded at public events taking place in Southcentral Alaska. A variety of local organizations host speakers addressing topics that matter to Alaskans. To let us know about an upcoming community event that you would like to hear on Addressing Alaskans, please Contact Us with details.