In the past few months three new AEGEE Contacts in Russia were established. At the same time the economic crisis is burdening the country. The Golden Times asked AEGEE-Voronezh member Natalia Ivleva, who is Vice-Speaker of the Network Commission, about the situation in Europe’s biggest country.

Natalia Ivleva

GT: Natalia, there have been three new AEGEE Contacts in Russia in the past few months. How did this happen? Was it your work?
Natalia Ivleva: Yes, three new Contacts of AEGEE-Europe in Tyumen, Yekaterinburg and Yaroslavl were opened in 2014. Every of these contacts had their own way before they were added to the network, but of course I’ve supported the people who worked on opening a Contact all the time.

GT: Did you already meet some of the people there in person?
Natalia: Unfortunately, it was not possibility to meet each other in real life, but some very productive and interesting Skype conferences already took place.

Members of the new AEGEE Contact in Tyumen

GT: How many and which AEGEE locals and contacts exist currently in Russia?
Natalia: Currently we have – in alphabetical order – AEGEE-Moskva, AEGEE-Rostov-na-Donu, AEGEE-Ryazan, AEGEE-Samara, AEGEE-Sankt-Peterburg, AEGEE-Voronezh and Contacts of AEGEE-Europe in Tyumen, Yaroslavl and Yekaterinburg.

GT: AEGEE-Sankt-Peterburg and AEGEE-Moskva have a very high visibility in AEGEE, but the others are less known. Is it harder to make an active antenna outside the two big cities?

Natalia: First of all Moscow and Saint-Petersburg are the most famous cities. If you’ll ask foreigners from any country people will name just these two cities. But here in AEGEE we have a possibility to show others parts of our great and beautiful country.

AEGEE-Voronezh organises a European Day of Languages event every year.

GT: Flight tickets to Russia are often very expensive, for example if someone wants to go to an event in Samara. Is there any trick for people from other countries to travel there more cheaply?
Natalia (smiles): Yes, flight tickets are really expensive. But you can always take a train and feel like real Russian. Moreover, in January the first Russian low cost company started to operate. They don’t cover all destinations yet, but it’s a great step into the future.

GT: Is the international political crisis and the economic crisis in Russia affecting the activities of the locals? For example, will it be harder to fund-raise money? Or do you expect less applicants for events?
Natalia: There is not a very big influence on the local activities for every AEGEE antenna in Russia with this situation, but now it’s much harder for us to attend European events. As for applicants for events in Russia, for examples SUs, we are hoping to have more participants, because our country has become very cheap for Europeans.

34 Moskva3
AEGEE-Moskva organises a Transsiberian Railway TSU every year, this year with AEGEE-Sankt-Peterburg.

GT: Back to three new contacts. What can you or we do to make them strong, to support them, to make them feel connected to the network?
Natalia: Just be AEGEEans! Open for new people, friendly, easy going and always ready for new adventures!

GT: Are there new contacts on the horizon?
Natalia: I was contacted by some people, who are interested in opening new contacts in their cities, but I’ll keep names secret.

More info about the three new Russian Contacts here: