PeopleCover story

Anniversary issue

We did it! Our 100th anniversary issue is in your hands! Hooray! Indeed the road has been tough, and, if you’ve been reading my notes from issue to issue, you know I’ve been sharing all ours ups and downs with you every time. Why have I been sharing it all? Well, because we are one big family, are we not?! At least I’d like to think that, and I know all our staff thinks that. I’ve said it before – our bi-weekly publication, the Russian Chicago magazine, is made by Russian-speaking chicagoans for Russian-speaking chicagoans. It reflects on our community, it features many great stories of our compatriots – the Russian-speaking Americans. Because that’s who we are. Our magazine is not a commercial flyer, it’s not a coupon book, it’s not a pure business enterprise. It’s got a heart and soul. That’s why our magazine flys off the shelves the moment it lands there, that’s why our readers keep them for many months and that’s why hear so much positive feedback from you. And that positive feedback drives us all forward. So today we celebrate 100th issue! In over four years we have printed half a million copies! That’s a lot of magazines, my friends! And I want you to feel as proud and joyous and happy today as we feel, because it’s our magazine. So many hours spent working on it, so many hours spent reading it, so many great stories and so many new friends we have made together! Yes, there have been glitches and hiccups along the way, but that only made us better. Together. Russian Chicago stands tall and proud above all. And that is our collective achievement. So thank you all, thank you each and everyone of our staff, our readers, our advertisers and customers. We did it together. So turn to the right or left and smile at whoever is there, because you deserve to be happy and you should share it too. “Thousands of candles can be lit from a single candle and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases from being shared” – I didn’t say it, Buddha did.

It’s interesting to point out that half of our staff thought I should write this issue’s note in Russian. “People are going to start to think that you can’t speak Russian” they said. “It’s our anniversary issue, afterall, write it in Russian!” I’ve thought about it.. but not for too long. We started a little tradition and we should keep it. Our magazine is Russian-American, our audience is bi-lingual, English is the first language of our children and most of us spend majority of our time speaking English. That’s just the way it is. We are in Chicago, not Bоbruisk (nothing against Bоbruisk, just making a point). We chose to come here (even when escaping the Soviet Union, it was still our choice), we choose to live here, we became citizens of this great country (most of us anyway) and we should not be stuck on the old ways. We should be a part of this country and culture while preserving our own culture the same way so many others did, and not be ashamed of one or the other. I just love cliche phrases such as “oh, those stupid americans” or “there’s nothing to read here, all great writers are russian”. Um… there are lot’s of stupid people in any country, and yes, there are amazing authors from all over the world including the US. Tolerance, my friends, tolerance. You’re just as special as anyone else. And how could anyone think I don’t speak Russian if I’m speaking it just about everyday on Vashe radio?! Silly.You meet Russian-speaking people anywhere you’d go in the US now, you really do. Even deep in the South, in Tennessee, Kentucky or Alabama where I just came from. Imagine that. You go into a restaurant and you meet a waiter from Rostov or some village not too far from Ivano-Frankovsk. How crazy is that? And they tell me they have lots of Russian-speaking friends from all over Russia and Ukraine living there. That’s how our world is nowadays. Why live in the bubble and watch only some Russian TV channel or listen only to some Russian radio or read only some Russian-language paper? Mix it up a bit, it will only do you good. Yes, it’s me saying it – someone who produces Russian-language media. But I’m not living in the bubble. We’re not CNN, MSNBC of FOX, we are not a news organization and cannot compete with modern English-language media including Twitter, Facebook and such. We are also not the only source of valuable information for your everyday life and we are not trying to be. We would just like to be one of however many media outlets you enjoy. In your native language (well, mostly) and for entertainment, fun and valuable experiences. If you’re living here permanently and only relying on Russian-language media.. well, you’re either at the respectable age and simply cannot adapt or you’re just plain weird. And that’s the truth. So yes, my trip to the South was eventful. Besides amazing nature and fun people, one scary thing that I immediately noticed while traveling was the fact that just about everyone local was extremely obese. It felt strange. You hear about it, you read about it, you know it’s a national problem, but you don’t see it anywhere as vivid as in the South. Literally 9 out of 10 people of any age including kids were not just slightly overweight but incredibly obese no matter where you’d go. I’m not trying to start a long conversation on the subject, but it startled me and I wanted to share. Stay thin and fit my friends and travel to the South – that way it will get a bit diluted there. And yes, I got sidetracked a bit. Back to our celebration!

We’re growing and we’re always looking for more good people to join our team. If you think you’re good at something that has something to do with our magazine or the radio or web – reach out to us, why won’t you?! There’s room for more good talent. Let’s talk! Our doors are always open. And of course I cannot hide the fact that we also have some very exciting new cover stories in the making that you will see shortly. I hope you will enjoy this issue and will be looking forward to many many more to come! Thank you for being a part of our family! Cheers and talk soon!


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