Letters to the Editor

Helping Russian Children

Two articles caught my attention in the November 28, 2007 edition of the Russia Beyond the Headlines supplement to The Washington Post - "Adoption in Russia" and "Priorities: Why does Russia Need the National Projects?" I am working with a Russian non-governmental organization (NGO) named "Development." This group has been involved in HIV/AIDS education of inmates in the Russian prison system (GUIN) in the Oblast of Sverdlovsk. They are completing the first phase of the project which has been a six month effort funded by a $15,000 grant from a small American foundation. Given the limited amount of funds, they have achieved some phenomenal results. We are hoping to secure some additional funding to continue and perhaps expand the project. As you know, there is a major problem with HIV/AIDS in the Russian prison system due to widespread IV drug use among young people. On my last trip to Yekaterinburg I had the opportunity to visit an orphanage where a large number of the children were HIV positive as a result of having one or both parents with the disease. So the problem of injection drug use and the HIV/AIDS infection (which very often results) certainly impacts the overall health of the general populace.

Gary L. Dennis, Ph.D.Senior Associate, USA (VIA EMAIL)

Adopted Russian daughter

In the November 28th edition there is an article by Sveltana Sorokina in regard to adoptions. My wife and I adopted a teenage Russian girl (14 going on 15), Victoria (nee Ivanova), from Smolensk over 5 years ago.Our daughter, whom we love very much, has graduated from St. John's College High School, traveled with us to other countries and other states in the U.S., been a Washington Debutante, gotten married and has a beautiful baby. She is very smart and wants to be a pediatrician.

Arthur Heimbold and Margaret Byrne Heimbold, Washington, DC

A side effect of Sputnik

I greatly enjoyed reading the article about Sputnik in your September issue. Here is one more effect Sputnik had: it killed Ford's then-new "Edsel" automobile. The Edsel and Sputnik were launched around the same time. Ford trumpeted that developing the Edsel had cost around $250 million. Then came Sputnik, which caused a great shock in the U.S.: that we were falling behind the Soviets technologically. We realized our money should be spent on training engineers, not developing still more cars. Driving an Edsel became viewed as close to a lack of patriotism. It failed, and no wonder.

Rudolph Hirsch, USA (VIA EMAIL)

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