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The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

The Student News Site of Sacramento City College

The Express

Russian exchange

Elena Garib, a public relations officer from St. Petersburg, Russia, fields questions from Diane Heimer's newswriting and reporting class on Tuesday, Nov. 4. Garib is part of a group of professionals from various countries taking part in an fellowship exchange that spotlights the democratic process and its role in government and media. Photo by ||Vincent Fernandez

Bad guys in movies are from Russia, Elena Garib said, of the frequent stereotypes of her countrymen in American popular culture. “What do you know of Russia?” she asked the class of journalism students.

Garib, 32, is a public relations officer from St. Petersburg, Russia. She was one of three speakers who came to City College Nov. 4 on official state business to discuss with students the professional exchange fellowship that brought her to the United States.

Along with Garib, Maxim Bezaev and Lulia Movchan were part of the program sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs, which brings young professionals from other countries who are interested in democratic processes to the U.S.

Garib, who spoke in journalism professor Dianne Heimer’s Basic Newswriting and Reporting class, works in the St. Petersburg’s Legislative Assembly, the city she has lived in her whole life.

“All my professional work was about radio,” said Garib, who has a bachelor’s in journalism. “I started as a member of staff in radio when I was 16.”

Heimer asked Garib about whether Russian media was moving toward digital media.

“It’s a much more traditional society and these people are used to reading their local paper,” she said of the reading habits of her people.

The last time Garib was in the United States, she said she was covering the 2008 presidential election in Arizona. She was only in the country one week. Through the fellowship, Garib’s current stay in the United States is five weeks. After Sacramento, she and the other fellows will head to Washington, D.C.
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Student Kristina Shire asked Garib to share with the class impressions Russians might have of Americans.

“I have in mind what I think, they think of us,” acknowledged Shire.

“I know a lot of Russians – they don’t like Americans,” Garib said

She explained that there was powerful anti-American propaganda under communism, which still affects the older generation of Russians.

“Maybe for people of my age, they don’t like American power for other reasons,” Garib said. “They use half the resources of our planet. Here, you have a good level of life and very good relationships with each other, but you have very bad relationships with other countries.”

“As for me, I like America,” she said. “It’s why I participate in this program. I try to understand all the advantages and disadvantages of living here and of being American.”

Bezaev and Movchan spoke to political science professor Paul Frank’s Introduction to International Relations. Garib explained there will also be American counterparts soon who will be able to live in Russia for two weeks and observe the government process.

For more information on The Legislative Fellows Program, visit

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