Fort Ross
FRD 2022 Speaker Bios

FRD 2022 Speaker Bios

IMAGEAlexander Petrov 

Alexander Petrov, Chief Researcher, Institute of World History, Russian Academy of Science

Dr. Petrov is the Chief Researcher at the Center for North American Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences. He specializes in the history of Russian America, and the Russian-American Company in California. His research topics include Russian-American relations; Russian heritage in the United States and the history of the Russian Orthodox Church in North America.



IMAGELucinda J. Christian 

President Chief Senior Advisor to the World Heritage Animal Genetic Resources Global Initiative (WHAGR)

Lucinda J. Christian has served as President Chief Senior Advisor to the World Heritage Animal Genetic Resources Global Initiative (WHAGR). In this role, Ms. Christian oversees the advancement of the mission of WHAGR which conserves some of the world’s most critically endangered domesticated animal breeds from around the world. As a lifetime conservationist and esteemed WHAGR founder, Ms. Christian is responsible for diplomatic relations with all stakeholders, UN FAO, CBD and many nations. Ms. Christian represented WHAGR at the 2010 ICCF Congressional Gala. 


IMAGETatiana Kofanova

Partner, Tax & Legal, Best Solutions and Technologies

Tatiana is a Partner with the Tax & Legal Department at Best Solutions and Technologies. Also, Tatiana leads the Working Group on the Extended Importer and Producer Responsibility Regulations. Tatiana has more than 18 years of experience advising major Russian and international companies from various industries.

Among the projects she has successfully managed are: evaluating various options for implementing the extended producer responsibility (EPR) requirements; analysis of international and Russian environmental responsibility legislation; obtaining clarifications from and supporting clients in disputes with Russia’s environmental regulators; organizing and holding discussions for NGOs, industrial unions and associations to establish a joint position on the environmental legislation matters.

She is a Deputy Head of American Chamber of Commerce in Russia’s (AmCham) Environment Committee, a member of the Working Group on Waste Management in AmCham’s Environment Committee, a member of the Working Group on Waste Management in German-Russian Chamber of Commerce (AHK), as well as a member of the Working Group on Waste Management in the Association of European Businesses.

IMAGERoman Ishmukhametov 

Senior associate, Melling, Voitishkin & Partners.

Roman Ishmukhametov is a senior associate at Melling, Voitishkin & Partners.  Roman advises major multinational and Russian businesses on M&A transactions, joint ventures, general corporate and commercial law, as well as a wide range of regulatory matters.

Roman is a driving force of Melling, Voitishkin & Partners’ sustainability and ESG practice. He advises on carbon regulation and climate projects, regulatory and transactional matters of renewables, hydrogen, CCS/ CCU, waste management, electric vehicles and general environmental law. He is the  Chairman of the AEB Green Initiative Carbon Management Workstream,  Co-chair of the Industrial Committee of St. Petersburg International Business Association (SPIBA), and a member of the ICC Russia Commission on the Economics of Climate Change and Sustainable Development. In addition, he holds membership the Working Group on Carbon Regulation and Carbon Trading with the Central Bank of Russia, the energy working group of the North-Western Branch of the Russian-German Chamber of Commerce. 

Roman is the co-author of several editions of Baker McKenzie's "Doing Business in Russia" guide, the section on climate change, clean technology and environmental protection; Russia to kick-off second round of its renewables program in September 2021; and Government adopts its first-ever greenhouse gas law - The core of its national climate package; and many other publications. 

IMAGEAndrei Sharonov

CEO of National ESG-Alliance

In January 2022 Andrei Sharonov was appointed CEO of National ESG-Alliance. From 2013 to 2016 was Dean of SKOLKOVO Business School and from 2016 to 2021 he was President of the Business School. Prior to this, he served as Deputy Mayor in the Moscow Government for economicpolicy.  

Mr. Sharonov was born in Ufa in 1964. He graduated from Ufa State Aviation Technical University and the Russian Academy of Public Administration under the President of the Russian Federation; holds a Ph.D. in sociological science. From 1989-1991 Mr. Sharonov was People’s Deputy of the USSR, and until 1996 was Chairman of the State Committee of the Russian Federation for Youth Affairs. Between 1996 and 2007 he served in the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade of the Russian Federation as department head, deputy minister and state secretary. From 2007 through 2010 Mr. Sharonov was managing director and chairman of the Board of Directors of Troika Dialog Investment Company, and headed the investment banking business. Andrei is a Chairman of the Board of NefteTransService LLC, member of the Management Board of such companies as PJSC Sofkomflot, PJSC PhosAgro, JSC Medicina, EN+ GROUP IPJSC, Non-commercial organization Foundation for Development of the Center for Elaboration and Commercialization of New Technologies (Skolkovo Foudation).

By directive of the Moscow Mayor dated 22 December 2010, Mr. Sharonov was appointed Deputy Mayor in the Moscow Government for Economic Policy, Chairman of Regional Energy Commission. Mr. Sharonov headed the Executive Committees of Moscow Urban Forum and Open Innovations Forum. Mr. Sharonov was awarded the Aristos prize for “Independent Director” in 2009, the national award “Director of the Year – 2009” for “Independent Director” and the international award “Person of the Year – 2012” for “Business Reputation”. He also received a special award for personal contribution to the development of corporate management in 2016 from the Independent Directors Association and the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs. Mr. Sharonov was awarded the Order of Honour and is an Honoured Economist of the Russian Federation. He also received President’s Letters of Gratitude in 2003, 2008 and 2018.

IMAGERobert Agee

President and CEO of the American Chamber of Commerce in Russia

Robert Agee, President and CEO of the American Chamber of Commerce in Russia, comes to this role with substantial proven experience in the Russian market. Robert has a track record of more than 30 years of innovative leadership in the technology sector, and he has also worked with a number of small and medium-sized businesses. 

Robert has played a key role in Cisco’s success in Russia. Leading the company in 1997-2009, he established Cisco as a key player in Russia and in the ICT industry. Prior to joining Cisco, Robert was the General Manager of Xerox Corporation for the CIS from 1991 to 1996. Robert was a Senior Vice President and Adviser to RTEC, Russia's first company specializing in the manufacturing and development of world-class trusted telecommunications equipment. In addition to his work at RTEC, Robert also served on the boards of MobileAccess (USA), Le Pain Quotidien Russia and H2oil Russia.

Robert is well-acquainted with AmCham Russia and has already taken an active part in its operations: he was twice elected as a member of the AmCham Board of Directors and has served on its Executive Committee. In 2004, he received the Darin Russian National Award of the Russian academy of business and entrepreneurship for his contribution to the international development and integration.

IMAGEAlexander Popov 

Architect, Preservation Specialist

Born in 1951 in Moscow, Alexander Popov studied engineering before eventually finding his calling: architecture, building crafts and restoration of wooden monuments and other structures. Having graduated from the Moscow Architectural Institute, he moved to Kirillov in the Arkhangelsk region of the Russian North. He began work as an architect and carpenter that specialized in the repair of wooden churches and monuments. 

From 1981 to 1988, he and his team restored the church of Dmitry Solunsky in Uftyuga. He managed to rehabilitate the historical technologies and tools used to build the church in the 1780s. From these working methods of restoration, he developed a set of principles that became standards for restoration of monuments of wooden architecture. In 1991 he was awarded the State Prize -- restorer of the highest category, for his work. 

Popov used those same standards in 2012 to replicate an 1841 wooden windmill for the 200th anniversary of Fort Ross, the Russian settlement in northern California. He led the manufacture of the wooden windmill in Kirillov and its reassembly for the bicentennial celebration at Fort Ross State Historic Park.

IMAGEKeith Alward

Founder of Alward Construction

Keith Alward is the Founder of Alward Construction, a widely recognized Berkeley California firm with a 41-year history.  The firm grew directly from home repairs and renovations for friends starting shortly after completing a Ph.D. in theoretical psychology at the University of California, Berkeley.  His many years of construction experience throughout his youth and young adulthood made this transition possible.  Keith continues to publish and give papers in his field. 

Keith and his firm were selected to install a replica of a 200-year-old Russian pole windmill at Fort Ross, a California State Park featuring the 208-year-old Russian Fort on the California Sonoma coast.  He was chosen because of his reputation for historic restoration and the ability to meet unique building challenges.  One of his earlier projects was the restoration of a San Francisco 19thcentury church with Page and Turnbull Architecture, the local architects for the Fort Ross project.

IMAGEIgor Polishchuk 

Fort Ross Conservancy Director of External Relations 

Igor Polishchuk serves as Fort Ross Conservancy’s Director of External Relations. Part of his responsibilities includes organizing and coordinating historical research pertaining to Metini - Fort Ross. Igor holds a Master of Arts degree from the University of Aberdeen, Scotland, and a Master of Science degree in Russian and East European Studies from the University of Oxford, UK. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling, reading and writing, as well as collecting old coins and lore legends.



IMAGEAlexei Istomin 

Leading Researcher, Institute of Ethnology and Anthropology Russian Academy of Science

Dr. Istomin is a world-leading expert in the history and ethnography of Russian America, Russian-Native American relations, colonial societies and colonization processes in modern times.  Dr. Istomin research interests include the anthropology of political manifestations, history, and the anthropology of Russian American studies. He is the co-author of a monumental work on the history of Fort Ross, titled “Russian California, 1806-1816: A History in Documents”  published by the Hakluyt Society in  2014.




IMAGEGlenn Farris   

Retired State Park Archaeologist

Glenn Farris (Ph.D. 1982), worked for California State Parks retiring as a Senior State Archaeologist. His first field project at Fort Ross was the excavation of the site of the Old Warehouse (1981). Other archaeological projects focused on sites of the local Kashaya

Pomo, the Russians, and the ranching period. Farris also studied the ethnohistory of the area and published articles on Kashaya folk tradition regarding remarkable accounts of a Hudson’s Bay expedition that passed by Fort Ross in 1833, as well as various visitors to Fort Ross: Mariano Payeras (1822), Mariano Vallejo (1833), and Cyrille Laplace (1839).


IMAGESarah Sweedler

Fort Ross Conservancy 

Sarah Sweedler is the former CEO of Fort Ross Conservancy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit and Cooperating Association at Fort Ross State Historic Park and Salt Point Park. Starting in 2012 Ms. Sweedler co-led and implemented Fort Ross Dialogue, a conference attended by high-level diplomats, business & thought leaders, and academics, emphasizing Pacific Rim second-track communication between Russia and the United States. As CEO, Ms. Sweedler’s goals are to develop the 3,400-acre Fort Ross park to be a self-sustaining, cross-cultural and educational destination; to steward the physical landscape and increase its biodiversity, and to ensure FRC expands its interpretation to include more diverse narratives from the people connected to these lands.


IMAGENatalia Kalchenko 

Deputy Director for Scientific Work, Izborsk Museum

Kalchenko Natalia Konstantinovna is a Deputy Director for Scientific Work of the "State Historical, Architectural and Natural Museum-Reserve "Izborsk"

From 2013 to 2015 she participated in the implementation of the grant project "One Earth. A common History", within the framework of the Russian-American Dialogue program. In 2017, she took part in some events of the Russian-American conference "Fort Ross Dialogue" in Izborsk. In 2018, she completed an internship in Montana as part of the delegation for the Open World program.

In 2019-2021, she participated in the implementation of the international projects "630 versts of Sensations" and "Spirit of Nature" of the Russia-Latvia cross-border cooperation program and in 2018-2022 in the World Bank grant project "Preservation and Use of Cultural Heritage in Russia". She has certificates and commendations from the Pskov Region State Committee for Culture, the Regional Assembly.

IMAGENatalia Dubrovskaya, Director, Izborsk Museum

Dubrovskaya Natalia Petrovna is the Director of the State Historical, Architectural and Natural Museum-Reserve "Izborsk". She is a member of the International Council of Museums ICOM.

Between 2009 - 2012, she led the work on the preparation and implementation of the 1150th anniversary of Izborsk celebrations. She is the author of museum expositions concepts.

In 2010, she studied under the American museum management program "Managing the work of National Historical Sites and Museums" (USA). That same year, she completed an internship in Sweden, Finland.

Under her leadership from 2013 to 2015, "One Earth. A common History" grant cycle within the framework of the Russian-American Dialogue program was implemented. In 2017, she actively participated in the organization of the Russian-American conference "Fort Ross Dialogue" in Izborsk. In 2019-2021, within the framework of the Latvia-Russia cross-border cooperation program, she led international projects: "630 miles of sensations" and "Spirit of Nature".

Between 2018-2022, she led a World Bank grant project for the Reconstruction of Historical Cities "Preservation and use of Cultural Heritage in Russia", which turned the city’s pf Pechora Museum of History Pechora into one of the most significant and branded cultural institutions in the region.

Natalia holds Certificate of Honor of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, the Certificate of Honor and Gratitude of the Ministry of Culture of the Russian Federation, and the badge of the Federation Council Committee on International Affairs.

IMAGELeslie L Hartzell, PhD

Chief, California State Parks' Cultural Resources Division 

Leslie L Hartzell, PhD, is California State Parks' (State Parks) Cultural Resources Division Chief as well as the Department Preservation Officer and Tribal Liaison. She began her state parks' career while she was completing advanced degrees in Anthropology at UC Davis in the late 1980s. She was awarded a NSF post doc to work in Australia in the early 1990s, followed by a position in the Anthropology Department at Bishop Museum in Honolulu, Hi.

In 2001 Dr. Hartzell returned to State Parks, where she managed the Museum & Interpretation program at the Northern Service Center with a team of award-winning curators, interpreters and exhibit designers. Since 2015, she has led the Cultural Resources Division, foregrounding the department's historic, tribal and cultural resources through through the Transformation Initiative Bodie 3D Project that conducted the initial R&D for the department's new Virtual Adventurer mobile app, and since 2020 advancing the work the Reexamining Our Past Initiative.