Jena Kuvshinova spoke to the Magnolia Rotary Club about her native country, Russia and how the Russian culture, business, and current economy relates to the oil/gas industry here. The photo above is of Jena Kuvshinova in the dress she made for the occasion.
Jene Kuvshinova told us that because Russia is such a large country she would talk to us about her experiences growing up in Russia before she migrated to the United States. She did this with the aid of a slide show that had many beautiful photos of Russia including people, mountain scenes, forest scenes, lake and waterway scenes as well as cities and churches.
To begin with, Jena told us that she was born on the southern border of Siberia in a small town about half way between the east and west borders of Siberia. Although everyone in Texas thinks of Siberia as a bitterly cold area, Jena explained that during the summer it was warm enough to grow vegetables and fruits. However, it does get down to about -15 degrees Fahrenheit in the winters. Later her family moved to Novosibirsk which is the largest city in South Central Siberia. From there she moved to Academgorodok which is a scientific / technology city in Siberia created by the central government to bring scientist close to the area where many natural resources are found such as oil , gas, and diamonds. The diamonds were discovered in a wilderness area where no roads existed.
Jena told us that there are few roads in Siberia and even the Trans-Siberian highway is mostly a dirt road (see photo below) except where it is close to major cities like Moscow which is west of Siberia over the Ural Mountains. This is one of the reasons that they created the city of Academgorodak mentioned above; so that the scientists and workers could be close the the natural resources they were producing from the land. Jena also told us that Russia is made up of 3 large areas each with its own climate and population density. To the far west with the largest population density is the area west of the Ural Mountains that includes Moscow. Jena told us that Moscow is the largest city in Russia with the highest density and Moscow accounts for 90% of all Russian businesses. In the middle of the country, the Siberian Plateau is full of forests, lakes and streams but has a much lower population density. To the east of the Siberian Plateau lies the most remote part of Russia and it has many high mountains and is very cold. This is where political prisoners were sent. However, close to where Jena was born are the Altay Mountains and it is believed by the Russian people that this is where the people who migrated to Alaska came from.
Jena then told us about the Russian Easter Eggs that are painted with many different symbols that have different cultural meanings and showed the club may photos of Russian Easter Eggs. Jena stated that many Russians use the Easter Eggs like modern day postcards. She also indicated that some of the symbols used on the eggs were also on the dress she made and was wearing during her presentation.
Jena then showed us a photo of her two children and told us that she had moved to Moscow before coming to the United States. Jena indicated that living in Moscow is very expensive and it is over populated. In fact, she stated that the traffic jams in Russia are so bad then sometimes the outer loop around Moscow comes to a complete standstill. However, people move there to get a better paying job.
Jena then told us about the many beautiful churches in Moscow and that she had a vision while visiting the Sarvvino-Storozhervsky Monastary about her life and the places where she had lived. Jena displayed a number of photos of the churches in Moscow.
Jena then told everyone that Houston is home to about 30,000 Russians and that they have a cultural center, a newspaper, a KSP festival, and many concerts.
Jena then asked for questions and she was asked how much of the land in Russia is private versus public land and she told everyone that almost all land in Russia is public land and that she was surprised when she came to Texas and found that it was just the opposite here.
Jena stated that if anyone had any other questions after the meeting, her email is
A photo of part of the Trans-Siberian highway close to where Jena was born: