A small informal gathering of dignitaries and local officials including Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor David Carey and City Mayor Pat Porter greeted director general and IGU council member, Sergey Kalityuk, from Moscow Russia last week.
Kalityuk, a public relations director for Gazprom Expo LLC, the largest natural gas producer in the world, traveled to Kenai and Juneau to visit Russian historical sites. Accompanied by Dorothy Gray and Father Thomas, Kalityuk visited the only National Historic Landmark on the Kenai Peninsula, the Holy Assumption Russian Orthodox Church and Chapel in Kenai, which is presently being restored.
"Mr. Kalityuk is heading up the Gazprom Russian Heritage Site Project which is surveying some Alaskan sites at this time, including Kenai which has a long-standing Russian influence dating from the time the first Russian fur traders arrived in the 1790's," explained Gray. Kenai City Mayor Pat Porter took the occasion to present the Russian director with a symbolic "Key to the City" which was only the second time in her tenure as mayor that Porter has bestowed the honor.
In welcoming Mr. Kalityuk, Porter said, "The All-American City of Kenai, Alaska, Welcomes You! Kenai is situated on the east side of Cook Inlet on the Kenai River. Surrounded by beautiful scenery in every direction, our 7,000 plus residents enjoy the most exciting aspect of Alaska's wilderness right outside their doors. Some of the world's best fishing and hunting is only minutes from the City. Visitors from all corners of the world are enticed to Kenai's waterways by the prospect of a 400 lb. halibut or 96 lb. salmon. Kenai's culture embraces a rich Alaska Native heritage as well as the riches of thriving oil and commercial fishing industries. We are very happy you have come to visit our city. We are especially pleased you will be touring and meeting with members of the Holy Assumption Russian Orthodox Church to discuss its very worthy preservation project in order to consider it for financial support. We are proud of our beautiful community and we hope you enjoy your visit here." Porter stated. Kalityuk was also presented with gifts of welcome from Borough Mayor David Carey and Kenai Visitor & Cultural Center executive director Natasha Ala.
While on the Kenai Peninsula, the Russian executive also visited Kenai Peninsula College Petroleum Technology program and reviewed preliminary plans for Kenai's natural gas storage facility with Kenai City Manager, Rick Koch. "Mr. Kalityuk will be reporting back to his superiors about the Russian Heritage Site Project whereby Gazprom may be financially supporting the restoration and preservation of Russian historical sites in Alaska. In April, Mr. Kalityuk will be returning to the state for further meetings and discussing Gazprom's interest in Alaskan sites," reported Dorothy Gray.
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