Innovative non-profits, foundations, and forward-looking businesses in Vermont have all forged strong links that bring a steady flow of Russians and Eastern Europeans to the state and encourage mutual contacts. Ranging from the first Ben and Jerry's outpost in Vermont's sister state of Karelia (near Finland), to the wildlife preservation efforts of Ecologia or the many exchange programs sponsored by Project Harmony and the Salzburg Seminar, Vermont maintains close ties to the people who live and work in the region.
Middlebury College itself is instrumental in bringing contemporary Russian culture and politics closer to home: the College regularly offers world-class concerts featuring outstanding musicians interpreting Russian composers (recent performances have included the Tchaikovsky liturgy, ...), and gives students opportunities to meet renowned writers and public figures at firsthand: recent visitors have included David Remnick, acclaimed Russian correspondent and editor of the New Yorker; Lech Walesa, Nobel Peace Prize laureate and former Polish president; Vladimir Voinovich and Tatyana Tolstaya, celebrated Russian authors, and James Baker, the former Secretary of State.
Within half a day's drive of Vermont are several sites of interest to Russophiles—ranging from the large Montreal Russian community, to the one-of-a-kind Russian Orthodox monastery in Jordanville, New York. Enterprising students have even organized trips to Brighton Beach in New York City to stock up on their Russian disco tapes and pulp fiction.