JUNEAU - On June 20, the second annual Festival of Russian Culture "White Nights" was held in Juneau. In Russia, the term white nights refers to the long summer days around the solstice often celebrated with festivals in some northern Russian cities, including, most famously, St. Petersburg. This marks the second year for Juneau's White Nights, and this year the lineup, venue and duration of the festival represented a distinct expansion over last year's event.
Participants in the festival included: Svetlana Velichko and Elena Smirnova (piano) of Anchorage; Steve Tada (violin) and Nancy Nash (piano) of Juneau and Haines; Sudarushka Dancers of Anchorage; New Archangel Dancers, Sitka; Singing Family Troika, Anchorage; the Russian folk music group SitNiks, Sitka; and the Kodiak Russian Players of Kodiak. Organized and coordinated by the Alaska-Siberia Research Center under the leadership of Alexander Dolitsky, and sponsored by the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Washington, D.C., the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the city of Juneau, the eight-hour celebration included musical performers from around the state.
The festival's official ceremony was opened with speeches from President of the Alaska-Siberia Research Center Alexander Dolitsky, Deputy Mayor of Juneau Jeff Bush and Alaska Senator Dennis Egan, and Russkiy Mir Foundation representative Veronika Krasheninnikova and Consul General of the Russian Federation in Seattle Yuri Gerasin.