The exhibit “Tiempo Russo Tubabao Island” which included photographs, documents and other material from the 1949-1951 White Russian refugee tent camp was held at the Philippine Consulate from October 18 through November 11 at the Kalayaan Hall at the Philippine Consulate. Ambassador Sergey I. Kislyak viewed the exhibit on November 11, the closing day, while visiting the SF Bay Area from Washington DC.
A similar exhibit, dedicated to the Time of the Russians at Tubabao opened on November 8 at the Solzhenitsyn House of Russians Abroad in Moscow. Philippine Ambassador Correto attended and gave a very warm speech, as did representative Nicholas Brown from the Political Department of the U.S. Embassy in Russia, Tatiana N. Smirnova from the Department of Work with Compatriots of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in addition to Director of the House Of Russians Abroad, Victor A. Moskvin and Natalie Sabelnik, President of the Congress of Russian Americans and Chair of the Coordinating Council of Russian Compatriots of the US, who was the initiator of these exhibits. Following viewing of the documentary film (which was translated into Russian by N. Sabelnik, as it was being shown, as part of the film festival that opened the evening before), the exhibit opened on the top floor and will run until the end of the year.
On November 17, as part of commemoration of “Russia Unity Day”, and the closing of the exhibit in San Francisco, Consulate General of the Russian Federation in San Francisco held a special reception with photographs from each exhibit – in San Francisco and in Moscow. Russian Consul General Sergey V. Petrov and Philippine Consul General Henry S. Bensurto Jr. both spoke of the Tubabao as being an important part of history that showed how Philippine & US nations worked together to provide a temporary home for 6000 displaced Russian refugees, and served as a monument to working together in tandem. Both Consul Generals thanked Natalie Sabelnik for initiating this project to remind all of the necessity to work together in this year commemorating 40 years of Russia-Philippine relations. Consul General Bensurto said that during it’s first week, the exhibit was viewed by over 1000 people. Yves Franquien, from the Museum of Russian Culture SF, who recently returned from Moscow, handed a proclamation of gratitude to Natalie Sabelnik from Director Victor Moskvin of the Solzhenitsyn House of Russians Abroad.
In her speech, Natalie Sabelnik thanked all who participated in the project, the sponsors who helped financially, both Russian & Philippine Consulates who provided venues and support for this project, the Museum of Russian Culture of SF, that provided around 300 photographs from Tubabao, and the former Tubabao residents, who sent in numerous photographs, documents and other artifacts to make this Tubabao project a success. She said that “now, it is not just my project, my life, not just your life, of those who lived in Tubabao camp, but our project, our life, because we all shared in this historical event this year.”
N.Sabelnik also acknowledged the participation of the grandson of President Elpidio Quirino and grandchildren of Gregory Bologov, president of the Russian Emigrants Association, and granddaughter of Alexander Karamzin, the prolific artist of Tubabao paintings and icons of the church in Tubabao for their participation in all the Tubabao events in San Francisco.
In all of the exhibits-receptions dedicated to the Tubabao project, the Russian, Philippine and US Embassies stated that this exhibit was one of the leading projects that cemented Russia-Philippine-US relations this year.