Natasha and Sasha Doluda, who first invited me to Vladivostok, met twenty-three years ago at the mining town of Tetukhe, founded by Juli Bryner.
The Hotel Versailles on Svetlanskaya Street, my beloved home in Vladivostok, thanks to the International Film Festival. Juli Bryner invested in the original building of the hotel in 1910. Ten years later, the year my father was born around the corner at the Bryner Residence, the hotel was commandeered by the fearsome Cossack, Ataman Semyonov.
My friend Vladimir Khmel is a great historian of Vladivostok. He is also Chairman of the Primorye Business Initiative Supporting Fund - as well as the owner of a beautiful yacht with which he offered to take me to Sidemi across Amur Bay.
My friend Elena Reznitchenko is also my official representative in Vladivostok, and she runs our office there. Elena has also done an enormous amount of research for my new book, Empire and Odyssey.
Prof. Evgenia Terekhova, Professor and member of the Academy of Sciences, is the best simultaneous interpreter any lecturer could have - and my dear friend.
Our first meeting. . .
. . . was like finding a lost brother.