Russian Time Magazine

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Russian Time Magazine™ is published by Russian American Media, Inc.™ Circulation of the print edition 20,000 issues. Though Russian Time Magazine™ team uses its best efforts to ensure the accuracy of the information it publishes; it is not possible to ensure that all information provided within this magazine is entirely accurate and up-to-date. Russian American Media, Inc.™ accepts no responsibility for inaccuracies, errors or omissions with information and/or advertisements contained herein. ™ © 1997-2023 Russian American Media, Inc.™ All rights reserved. Materials may be reproduced or transmitted with the permission of the Publisher. Publisher Headquarters: Russian American Media™ 916-299-1777 1851 Heritage Ln, Ste 141, Sacramento, CA 95815

School Mission:

Community Outreach Academy (COA) was founded with a commitment to develop the academic talents of it’s students, while nurturing their appreciation and understanding of their rich cultural heritage, and the place they take as citizens in our state and nation. In providing a multicultural education, including curriculum representing the students’ language and literature of their heritage, delivered in a supportive environment, the faculty will develop the students’ abilities to apply lessons as they grow and maximize their individual, social, academic, and personal development and contribute to our diverse community.

School Program Highlights

WASC Accreditation

State Adopted Curriculum

Bilingual Staff

Safe & Comfortable Environment

Russian, Ukrainian & Spanish Classes

Music and Art Programs

Physical Education Classes

Computer Lab & Computer Classes

Extended After School Program

Character Education Program

Technology Enhanced Classrooms

11 RUSSIAN TIME MAGAZINE WWW.RUSSIANAMERICANMEDIA.COM Tuition-Free Charter School Accredited by WASC Community Outreach AC ADEMY TK-8 Grades Бесплатная чартерная общественная школа (TK-8)
5640 Dudley Blvd, Blvd. 1425 McClellan, CA 95652 3800 Bolivar Avenue, North Highlands, CA 95660 (916) 286-1950 (916) 286-1908 COA Director Larissa Gonchar
FREE FUN FOR THE WHOLE MIL Jumping Houses Pony Rides Dancing Face Painting Train Rides Climbing WallBungee Jumping and MORE... 2023 Saturday May2 a.m. p.m. William Carol Amphitheater

When people ask me why I love my profession in the first place, I answer without hesitation: for the opportunity to meet and discover new people. Probably, there is no more “human-oriented” work than journalism. People, their troubles and aspirations, sufferings and victories, deeds, thoughts and feelings, joy and defeats - this is the subject of our everyday activity.

There are days when my phone just won’t stop ringing and RAM office door won’t close, and I really appreciate the desire of our readers and clients to communicate with me. My heroes become my friends.

People, people, people again... My day is filled with people, communication, and in the midst of this “human cycle” such bright personalities, such stars are sent to me that I endlessly thank fate for the profession it has led me to. When I feel bad, I definitely know the recipe for this state: go to PEOPLE.

The simplest. It is the simplest people, the most unexpected persons - those from whom you do not expect - in the most difficult moments they will give strength and inspiration, they will say the only necessary long-awaited word. They give me strength... people. In them I draw the potential for new things, for new creation.

They are my energy, they are my purpose. Sometimes, I confess in secret, I get very tired ... from such a mass of communication, and the best rest for me is just silence and a minimum of communication. But outside of society, I can not stand for long - and again - to the people.

This magazine is about you and for you my readers, my friends, my people.

I hope you enjoy this issue of Russian Time Magazine.

“It brings me so much joy to meet people who don’t let these uncertain times ground the dream of running their own business.”
Sergeyivannikov sergey_ivannikov Sergey Ivannikov

Miss Ukraine California Grand Finale spotlighted 12 courageous young ladies of Ukrainian heritage competing for the opportunity to represent their community and their heritage. The pageant provides prominent young women with a platform that helps them exemplify community leadership, educational achievements, and professional accomplishments. With some of the finalists being the war refugees who just moved to the United States from Ukraine, this event was a tribute to courage, strength, and beauty of Ukrainian women. The event raised $15,680 for the UNICEF USA fund for children affected by the war in Ukraine. We thank all twelve finalists of Miss Ukraine California 2023 for being a beautiful symbol of strength for the people of Ukraine!

Photo Credit: McTeerProductions MissUkraineCalifornia Miss Ukraine California


At the GPT Party organized by the San Francisco Innovation Hub, the brightest minds of Silicon Valley gathered to discuss the impact of artificial intelligence technologies on our future and whether they will make humanity happier. Ruslan and Arina Gafarov, the founders of SAN FRANCISCO INNOVATION HUB, have put in a tremendous amount of work to assemble such an event. Many attendees who reside in the Bay Area have stated that they have missed this type of event greatly since the pandemic began.

Photo Credit: Crispy.Raw Volha Piatrouski

Eleni Kounalakis

First Woman Elected as CA Lieutenant Governor

On Saturday, March 4, 2023, an intimate group of two dozen RAM and Asian Pacific Islander American Public Affairs Association (APAPA) community leaders met with Lt. Governor Eleni Kounalakis. They were graciously hosted at the beautiful Yin Ranch estate in Vacaville, California by CC and Regina Yin, Founders of APAPA.

Following the recent elections, this year marks a fresh start for planning and strengthening relationships in high levels of government. The Lieutenant Governor’s position in the state of California is the second highest ranking official in the state. Eleni Kounalakis was elected in 2018 as California’s first female Lieutenant Governor and subsequently became the first woman ever to sign a bill into law in the state.

The Lt. Governor smiled and shared, “I’m very honored to be invited today to meet and work with prominent businesspeople, entrepreneurs, appointees in the governor’s administration, locally elected, and nonprofit organization leaders. I have always felt a close affinity to the Asian American community. My husband and I share many of the same cultural values of this community as well. I was born in 1966, which is the year of the fire horse in the Chinese zodiac. People say that I am full of positive energy and focused on achieving goals. I am always open to learn from others to maximize team building. I believe in collaboration and partnerships.”

Lt. Governor Eleni Kounalakis recognized RAM Founder & CEO Sergey Ivannikov for his contribution to the community and his commitment to building lasting relationships on

local and international levels.

The group of community leaders learned about her extensive background. After graduating from Dartmouth College, and then UC Berkeley with her MBA, she earned an Honorary Doctor of Law degree from the American College of Greece. She is married to Dr. Markos Kounalakis and the couple has two teenage sons, Neo and Eon. She is proud of her family’s immigrant background, and shares that she greatly values the Asian and Chinese culture and language. In her role as Lt. Governor, she has had the opportunity to travel internationally. Both of her sons have attended language immersion classes, and it is impressive that they both speak Mandarin Chinese.

Lt. Governor Kounalakis comes from an entrepreneurial family with a strong business background. She understands the sacrifices of many immigrant families, like her own, who come to this country for a better life. After graduating from business school, she worked as a prominent businesswoman for 18 years, rising from project manager to president at AKT Development, a major Sacramento-area housing development firm. She built master-planned communities and delivered quality housing to the Sacramento region.

She currently serves as California’s Representative for International Affairs and Trade, appointed by Governor Gavin Newsom by executive order. From 2010 to 2013, Kounalakis served as President Barack Obama’s Ambassador to the Republic of Hungary. Kounalakis was the first Greek American woman to serve as US Ambassador, and at

Mary Yin (APAPA) with Sergey Ivannikov (RAM) RAM Founder Sergey Ivannikov with APAPA Founders CC & Regina Yin helping to greet Lt. Governor Eleni Kounalakis and her husband Markos Regina & Mary Yin with Lt. Governor Eleni Kounalakis at the beautiful Yin Ranch estate in Vacaville, California

“We have never had a woman governor of the state of California. Some say Lieutenant Governor is the best training opportunity, and I certainly love the work that I do for the state of California. So, stay tuned.”

California Lieutenant Governor

age 43, was one of America’s youngest. “I want to elevate California voices on issues important to us - climate change, immigration, and trade issues. California is emerging after the pandemic to become the fourth largest economy in the world. It is extraordinary, and there are people from around the world who come here looking to make investments. That brings good jobs to our state and helps in the ecosystem of innovation.”

She also points to public higher education as the greatest tool to open doors of opportunities for our next generation. “I believe in empowerment, and nothing empowers an individual or a community more than education. This is something I value greatly and have advocated for in our state at all levels,” said Lt. Governor Kounalakis. “I appreciate the great work APAPA, RAM, and other organizations are doing in our diverse communities.”

As Lieutenant Governor, she is the only person to sit on all three boards of public higher education: UC, CSU, and the community colleges boards. “It cannot be overstated how important public higher education is in our state. Altogether, 2.5 million students are currently enrolled in public higher education, and about 37 percent are the first in their family to go to college. This is a conveyor belt of talent. It is the greatest opportunity for social mobility,” she reflected. “It is the source of innovation, and it is the best way that California can invest in our future.”

She is committed to pushing for the state to increase funding for colleges and universities from 10% of the current

budget back up towards 18% of the state budget, where it was over four decades ago. She also wants to work on increasing timely graduation rates at the California State University system where only 33% of students graduate within four years.

“We have a lot of room left in figuring out how to make sure that when our students arrive on campus, they have the support and the assistance that they need, and a system that’s easy enough to navigate that they know how to get all their credits in four years and get their major done,” she said.

This past spring, she also stepped in to represent the Governor to lead California’s delegation to the United Nations Climate Summit in Scotland. Her priorities include advancing higher education, environmental protections, gender equity, and California’s engagement on an international stage.

The Lt. Governor’s current position can be a solid and very real launch pad for higher aspirations. Two of the last four governors served immediately prior as lieutenant governor, including current Governor Gavin Newsom who preceded Kounalakis. She seems very open to these aspirations as well. “We have never had a woman governor of the state of California. Some say Lieutenant Governor is the best training opportunity, and I certainly love the work that I do for the state of California. So, stay tuned.”

Mary Yin Liu APAPA Chair Left to right: Amy Fabi, Santa Clara Superior Court Judge Audra Ibarra, Ram Thanapandian, Dr. Amy Matecki, Cathy Gao, CC Yin, Henry Yin, Regina Yin, Markos Kounalakis, Lt Governor Eleni Kounalakis, Paul Hsu, Simon Pang, Linda Lui, Folsom Vice Mayor YK Chalamcherla, Mary Yin Liu, Sergey Ivannikov, Tony Lin, Sean Yang, Volha Piatrouski Lt . Governor Eleni Kounalakis with RAM Founder & CEO Sergey Ivannikov

“Walking around Dubai

feels surreal as if almost every building, skyscraper or tourist attraction belongs in the World Guinness Book of Records. As of present, Dubai has seven World Guinness records under its belt.”


Evgenya and Sergey Vitcov went to Dubai for a romantic getaway that they planned for their 10th wedding anniversary. They shared the highlights of their unforgettable trip, gave insight into what to expect from UAE, and shared some helpful tips on how to spend less and see more.

“The best time to visit Dubai is the period from November to February because the temperatures during the season are consistently pleasant and not too hot.”

It is hard to believe, but the United Arabic Emirates used to be a desert that was turned into a developed country with infrastructure only a few decades ago and it is impressive how much effort it took to turn it into one of the richest and most influential countries in the Middle East region attracting an enormous number of tourists and investors from around the world.

The best time to visit Dubai is the period from November to February because the temperatures during the season are consistently pleasant and not too hot.


Walking around Dubai feels surreal as if almost every building, skyscraper or tourist attraction belongs in the World Guinness Book of Records. As of present, Dubai has seven World Guinness records under its belt:

Burj Khalifa Palm Fountain

is the tallest building in the world with 160 habitable levels.

at the Pointe in Palm Jumeirah is the world’s largest dancing fountain with over 3,000 LED lights and 7,500 nozzles.

Vertical maze

Dubai has the largest vertical maze in the world: a 57-story skyscraper “Maze Tower” is located on Sheikh Zayed Road.

The tallest chocolate sculpture

is the biggest shopping mall in the world a total area of 1,124,000 sq meters.

The Dubai Mall Dubai Frame

is the largest frame in the world (the building has a height of 150.24 meters and a width of 95.53 meters).

The fastest police car in the world

Bugatti Veyron can go from 0 to 60mph in just 2.46 seconds!

The city also has the tallest chocolate sculpture in the world, which is 13.52 meters tall and shaped like Burj Khalifa.

Photo by

UAE has the largest expatriate population in the world — 80 percent — so it is difficult to meet locals. For instance, we did not have a chance to come across any locals at all during our 10-day trip. A large number of immigrants come to Dubai to work in the service industry, which is the largest in Dubai’s economy.

It is always a good idea to hire a guide who speaks your language: for our trip, we hired a Russianspeaking guide who told us a lot about life in Dubai, took us to Dubai Frame and Museum of the Future, and to the local market in Dubai Old Town where you can buy silk, souvenirs, and perfume oils. We also hired a Russian-speaking photographer who helped us document the most beautiful moments of our journey.

UAE has some specific laws. We accidentally found out that it is illegal to take photographs or videos at local airports. I realized it after I tried to take a photo of a Rolex watch on the wall in the waiting hall. You are also not allowed to take photos of the locals unless they gave you their permission. In some emirates, it is illegal to express your affection in public — kissing, hugging and holding hands might lead to arrest, especially in Abu-Dabi, which is considered to be more conservative than Dubai.  Another interesting fact is that it is almost impossible to get UAE citizenship, even those who were born to immigrant parents are not entitled to birthright citizenship.

In terms of the service industry, the most striking and unusual thing was that unlike in the US, tipping in local cafes and restaurants was voluntary.

Another thing that impressed us in UAE was Dubai Expo 2020, which was a large-scale exhibition with 192 countries of the world presenting their achievements in the world of science, art and technology, and also sharing and demonstrating their vision of the future. It is physically impossible to get around all the pavilions in one day due to queues and long distances, but we visited the most popular ones which were Australia, the Netherlands, Japan, Russia, Uzbekistan, the United Arab Emirates, Kazakhstan and the UK. I was very impressed with the anti-gravity waterfall in which the water “falls” up, a huge projection dome where world-famous artists perform, the world’s largest interactive floor in the Saudi Arabia pavilion, and robotic acrobats in the pavilion of Kazakhstan. Seeing the 4k drone show at China Pavillion was the icing on the cake, this was a must-see experience.

“If we were to give advice to someone who is going to the UAE for the first time, we would recommend bringing more money, because it is such an expensive country!”


If I were to give advice to someone who is going to the UAE for the first time, comments Evgenya, I would recommend bringing more money, because it is such an expensive country! When buying doing shopping at local malls you can easily get a 5% tax refund for your purchases at the airport. In terms of saving money on accomodation, book hotels at least 3-4 months in advance. The best option would be to pick a hotel with breakfast included, or half board —  usually it is a good combination between a fixed price and wide assortment of food.

Middle eastern cuisine is quite similar to Mediterranean cuisine and everything is absolutely delicious: fish, lamb, pickles, kebab, local desserts, and especially local coffee with saffron and cardamom, which is to die for!

We would also recommend not being stuck in one place for the whole stay and exploring Dubai — for instance, we stayed in three different locations during our trip and that was amazing! We stayed in Downtown Dubai for three days, then moved to Palms Jumeirah — one of the man-made islands in Atlantis — and spent the rest of the trip in Dubai Marina.

Be active and try to see as much as you can! As truly seasoned travelers, we made a detailed plan and listed all the things we wanted to see during our 10-day trip. We ended up having a very active trip packing at least 2-3 activities into each day. My personal bucket list of things to do and see in UAE included visiting the breathtaking Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dabi, seeing the dancing fountain show in front of Dubai Mall, and staying at one of the Palm Islands in Jumeira. Sergey, my husband, really wanted to do a jeep safari in the desert, do a helicopter tour of the city and visit Dubai Expo 2020. It sounds like a lot but, nevertheless, we made it happen! We saw even more things than we were planning to.

I can attest that the UAE is worth visiting because it was undoubtedly the best vacation of our lives! Dubai is so grand and glitzy and has so much to offer. It was our first visit to Dubai and we instantly fell in

Photo by Fernando Jorge on Unsplash
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Deep Dhillon became Gateway International School’s Principal at the start of 2022-23 School Year.

But she did not start to change everything immediately.

As the new principal, she began some changes with the school library as she felt that was a need all teachers have been asking about. Dhillon wanted the library to be not only a place for students to borrow books, but also a space for inquiry and research.

Dhillon started her career at GIS in 2014 as a school counselor and 5th grade teacher. Next year, she

became a full-time counselor and a coordinator for the Middle Years Program for the International Baccalaureate Program. After that, she served as a vice principal for 4 years. When last year the opportunity to become the school principal arose, Dhillon was ready for it.

Dhillon believes that her previous experience, especially as a counselor, helps her a lot in the principalship position.

Gateway International School is a public charter school for Transitional

Kindergarten through eight grades. The school is an authorized International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Program and Middle Years Program.

GIS has two world language programs: Russian and Spanish. It provides services such as intervention programs, academic tutoring, and after-school programs. The school has 1:1 technology for students, English language support, and student planners.

The teaching approach at GIS is unique. Teachers are more focused on inquiry-based way of teaching. Students think about their topics from a global perspec-

tive and the way it affects everyone. And this helps them to become actively involved in the world and their local community in future.

The IB program offered by the school is a worldwide recognized program. The main idea of the program is that it is focused on teaching students to be open-minded and respond with optimism to everyday challenges. Students learn to connect knowledge from school with everything else they do outside the school.

Dhillon says that “research proves that IB students develop strong academic, personal, and social and emotional characteristics.”

At GIS, students are required to take a world language. Dhillon believes that the fact they offer Russian language attracts many students from Slavic community to apply for the school. We also attract other diverse learners by offering Spanish and another world language choice.

GIS teaches its students to be involved in the community by taking action outside of school based on what they have learned. Kids do community related projects and activities, such as helping out in churches, cleaning up local parks, supporting after-school programs, etc. GIS staff believe that such projects develop international awareness, self-sufficiency and a sense of pride in the academic and personal success of students.

Ganicheva Nadezhda

From science to a successful career in fashion

Besides being a simply elegant woman, caring wife and mother of two beautiful children, Nadezhda Ganicheva is also a successful fashion designer who exudes positivity and kindness. As a designer, Nadezhda is all about making her clients feel confident and empowered while wearing her pieces. Ganicheva has already been recognized for her talent in fashion — she received the title of “Best Image Consultant and Fashion Designer in California” at the prestigious “Best Business Awards Ceremony 2022” and created a gown for the winner of Miss Ukraine California 2022. In between fittings, she found a minute to sit down with the Russian American Media to talk about her fascinating career transition from science to fashion and give advice on how to find your personal style. Nadezhda opened up about the secret behind finding a new path and succeeding in her newfound fashion career and shared what inspires her to create beautiful pieces that are meant to reflect her client’s unique personality.


From a young age, fashion and design have been woven into the fabric of my life. My mom was a skilled seamstress and my older sister’s artistic talents shone through in her self-made clothing. We spent countless hours dressing paper dolls together, and I was always mesmerized by the way fabric and color could come together to create something truly beautiful. My sister Svetlana graduated from an art school while attending a high school and after 6 years of college became an interior designer, specializing in custommade window treatments and draperies. Even though my path took me through the science and education degrees for my undergraduate and graduate studies, I was always inspired by my family and was thinking about immersing myself in design. Fast forward to 2017, when I was renovating my house, I began receiving compliments on my color-matching skills. This sparked my passion for color analysis, and in 2018, I decided to channel this love into creating a scarf collection that celebrated the unique tones of different skin and eye colors.

Now, as a fashion designer, I’m passionate about helping people waste less money on clothes they don’t wear by guiding them towards pieces that fully fit their personal aesthetics.

But I knew I wanted to take my fashion education further, so I delved into the world of fashion design and merchandising at West Valley College. It was through these classes that I met Alyce Parsons, creator of Universal Style International, and was introduced to the transformative power of personal style education. I became a certified image consultant and began building wardrobes for clients, helping them discover their own unique style and create a wardrobe they truly loved.

Now, as a fashion designer, I’m passionate about helping people waste less money on clothes they don’t wear by guiding them

Victoria Dmitrieva

towards pieces that fully fit their personal aesthetics. My upbringing, education, and love for design have all come together to shape my journey as a fashion designer, and I couldn’t be more excited to continue creating beautiful, sustainable fashion that truly speaks to people’s individuality.


When it comes to fashion designers, there are a few who truly stand out to me. One of my absolute favorites is Daniel Lee, who has an incredible eye for blending colors and fabrics in a way that’s both harmonious and stunning. His previous work at Bottega Veneta was nothing short of inspiring, and I’m thrilled to see him continuing to make waves as the creative director at Burberry Group. Another designer who I deeply admire is Carolina Herrera. Her work is simply next-level, with a sophisticated and majestic quality that’s hard to find elsewhere. And yet, there’s also an elegance to her designs that feels fresh and contemporary. I’m constantly in awe of the way she’s able to create such beautiful pieces that are at once timeless and on-trend.


When it comes to fashion, I have a few favorite styles that I absolutely adore. First and foremost, I love business casual looks for men and women that are both bold and empowering. There’s something truly special about crafting an outfit that makes individuals feel powerful and confident. Whether it’s a structured blazer paired with a flowing skirt or a tailored pantsuit with a pop of color, I love to

play with different elements to create a look that exudes strength and style. On the other end of the spectrum, I also have a deep appreciation for elegant style. There’s something incredibly refined and timeless about this look, with its clean lines, neutral tones, and subtle nuances. To me, elegant style is all about understated classiness, with pieces that are both chic and versatile. Whether it’s a simple black dress, a well-tailored coat, or a sleek pair of pumps, these are the kinds of pieces that can take you from the office to a night out with ease.


As a fashion designer, inspiration is all around me, and I draw it from a variety of sources to create my pieces. I find inspiration in everything from beautiful works of art to the natural beauty that surrounds us all. However, I would say that my greatest source of inspiration comes from envisioning the end product and imagining how it will look and feel on a model.

To me, there’s something truly magical about the process of taking an idea from conception to completion. I love to think about how different fabrics, colors, and textures will come together to create a finished piece that’s both beautiful and functional. And when I imagine a model wearing that piece and feeling confident and powerful, that’s when my creativity really starts to soar. It’s a wonderful feeling to be able to bring a vision to life and to see it come to fruition on the runway or in a photo shoot.

First and foremost, I love business casual looks for men and women that are both bold and empowering. There’s something truly special about crafting an outfit that makes individuals feel powerful and confident


I am incredibly grateful and honored to have recently been awarded the title of “Best Image Consultant and Fashion Designer in California” by American Russian Media at the prestigious “Best Business Awards Ceremony 2022” in Sacramento. This recognition means so much to me, not only as a designer but also as a stylist and image consultant. One of the highlights of my career so far has been the opportunity to work with Miss Ukraine California as an official fashion designer, stylist, and sponsor. Collaborating with such talented individuals was truly an inspiring experience, and it was a privilege to be able to create unique and dazzling ensembles that wowed the stage.

Receiving this award is a testament to the hard work and dedication that I’ve put into my craft over the years. It’s incredibly gratifying to know that my work is being recognized and appreciated by my peers in the fashion industry, and I am excited to continue pushing the boundaries and creating innovative designs that inspire and empower both men and women.

Looking towards the future, my main priority is to continue expanding and developing my fashion business, with a particular focus on providing more style options for working professionals. My goal is to empower men and women with the freedom to express themselves through their clothing while feeling confident and comfortable in their everyday work. To achieve this, I plan to offer a comprehensive wardrobe-building service that incorporates a wide range of materials and clothing options from my own collections. By providing my clients with a diverse selection of highquality pieces, I aim to give them the flexibility and freedom to create looks that reflect their unique personalities and personal style.

Ultimately, my vision is to establish myself as a leading figure in the fashion industry, one who is committed to empowering people through their clothing and promoting sustainable, ethical practices within the industry. With hard work, dedication, and a clear vision for the future, I am confident that I can continue to grow and thrive as a fashion designer and business owner.

For those who are still searching for their personal style, my advice is to stay true to yourself while also being open to experimenting with new looks and trends. Don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone and try something new that you might not have considered before. At the same time, it’s important to remember that personal style is all about expressing your unique qualities and individuality. So, as you explore new fashion choices, be sure to stay true to yourself and your own sense of style. Look for pieces that make you feel confident, comfortable, and empowered, and don’t be afraid to mix and match different styles to create a look that is uniquely yours.

Ultimately, finding your personal style is a journey, and it takes time, patience, and a willingness to take risks and try new things. But with the right mindset and a willingness to embrace your individuality, you can discover a style that brings out the best in you and reflects your unique personality and sense of self.

Ultimately, finding your personal style is a journey, and it takes time, patience, and a willingness to take risks and try new things.

The BEST by Russian-Speaking Community Business Awards Ceremony is a one night journey into the fascinating world of Slavic California!

The event is organized by Council For Cross Cultural Affairs, in support with Slavic-American Chamber of Commerce, Slavic Community Center of Sacramento, Russian American Media and is dedicated to acknowledgement of businesses & organizations voted Best for their exceptional services rendered to Russian-speaking Californians.


RAM Russian American Media

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Victor Migalchan is not your average Hollywood filmmaker. Aside from directing and producing shows like My American Family, which aired in the US and the UK on Amazon Prime and Rede Smart in Brazil, he is also a former Martial Arts champion with five world and international titles. As an avid proponent of creating TV shows with one main purpose, to educate and unite, Victor Migalchan is very prolific: he has developed three TV show pilots, four shows, and two feature films while working on his first book “The Showrunner” on how to develop and sell your TV show. We spoke with Victor about his upcoming projects, the representation of different international filmmakers in Hollywood, as well as the importance of marketing in TV production.

“The question of cultural representation in Hollywood has been discussed so many times. This is one of the reasons why My American Family was created. My goal was to break stereotypes, show authentic cultures and introduce Central, Eastern European and Russian cultures.”

What was your life like before you moved to the US and started in the film business?

Victor Migalchan: It is a pretty long story. I’ll try to cut it short. I was born in a multicultural family and grew up all over Europe. Thanks to my dad, I got into international business when I was like 5 years old. I am very thankful for that experience. My school years went pretty efficiently. I got two master’s degrees: the first one is in international business with a focus on branding and marketing; the second one is in diplomatic and consular service. While studying I was developing my business, working, and also competing in martial arts. My training was pretty intense. I was lucky to inherit a very powerful traditional school from my first teacher (shifu) and Beijing training style from my second teacher. Before moving to New York, I was working at a Swiss bank where we were developing our own TV platform. I was actively competing in martial arts and building my personal brand. Because of my accomplishments in the martial arts world and public activities, I was a frequent guest on TV, starring in shows, films, and commercials. After winning another pretty important international title in March 2015, I was invited to move to Los Angeles — and that is how my new journey began.

“The way we create scripts is always math and marketing-based. Even a monkey can make a film with $5 billion. Even a monkey can make a film with $100 million. Can you make it with $50,000 or less? That is the art and that is the question. This is when business knowledge comes in handy.”

Can you tell us more about your most famous projects in Hollywood?

Victor Migalchan: I don’t usually use the term famous. To me, the most important thing is to earn respect and acknowledgment from the Titans of Hollywood film-making and our audience. After working with an international TV station for almost 4 years, I decided to move towards my main goal, which was to create scripted TV shows. In 2019, I developed the story of My American Family, with a whole business presentation package. After some time, we signed an agreement with an investment company, filmed the pilot in July, and it was ready at the end of August 2019. We started showing it to different companies and

networks, and the 1st season got a green light at the end of October 2019. Because we did not waste time, we were able to start filming early in 2020 and finish the production stage right before the COVID lockdown in Los Angeles. My American Family is my first scripted TV show, and I was honored to work with the one and only Danny Trejo and UFC star Michelle Waterson. We got a lot of great feedback. There aren’t many family-oriented TV shows with traditional values produced in Hollywood. On the other hand, we had one of the most diverse casts in Hollywood. The show was distributed by Amazon Prime in the US and the UK. Later on, we got an agreement with Rede Smart TV and got a unique opportunity to present our TVshow in Brazil — a country that doesn’t usually import TVshows. Currently, we are in negotiations with Argentina, Bulgaria, Italy, and Russia.

After the first season of My American Family was released, we filmed season 1 of the cooking show Dragon Chef, which is also a multicultural TV proj-


ect. We then filmed a pilot of a TV show called Modern Kung Fu. It focuses on social issues such as foster family abuse, toxic relationships, anxiety, depression, suicide attempts, detachment from your own culture, etc. The more that young people go clubbing, have random wasteful relationships, and use drugs the bigger this painful void inside their souls grows.

Later on, we decided to shift our focus more towards education and development for kids. We created and filmed season one of an educational reality show, “Life Academy”. It focuses on the type of education that no one gets in schools: mental health and wellness; public speaking, presentation, communication, work with the character; marketing, business, finance; physical health, nutrition, exercising, martial arts, In one of the stages, we had a very respected and unique military veteran sharing his experience with kids, so they would feel appreciative of this beautiful country they live in. We also developed and filmed the first season of a show called “OnAir”. It is a practical talent show, which aims to help young talents develop their skills, meet professional mentors, get to know how the industry works, and have a final product in addition to the show.

What are you working on right now?

Victor Migalchan: Well as I mentioned, we have finished filming season 1 of “Life Academy” and season 1 of “OnAir”. We also filmed two new pilots, “Fashion Insider” and “Futurization.” We also filmed two pretty important documentaries: one showcases the life story of the MMA legend and World Martial Arts Champion Cung Le, and the other one features Jack McCauley, the Silicon Valley legend, American engineer, inventor and co-founder of Oculus VR.

for models in the US without restrictions. We are writing a new page of fashion history.

Another pretty important film that we are currently developing is “Heritage — Stories of children of the Holocaust Survivors”. We will be connecting stories and experiences from the upbringing of children of Holocaust Survivors with modern kids, in order to preserve this knowledge. People cannot and should not forget history. When they do forget — it tends to repeat.

We learned that you held different workshops and masterclasses. How did that part of your work start and what are your plans in this area?

“I get a lot of inspiration from people and their life stories. I focus on creating quality TV that helps people educate themselves, get knowledge, grow, and unite.”

Victor Migalchan: That is true. I was invited to hold masterclasses and workshops in LA county, North California, Seattle, Las Vegas, and other cities in the US. We also held a masterclass for British filmmakers as a part of Creative Industry Awards 2022. It was truly an amazing experience. We received and kept receiving questions and we love that our participants keep in touch to share their ideas. It was one of the reasons why I started working on my book “The Showrunner, ” in which I share a blueprint of how I develop TV shows. We are considering creating a video course because some people like to listen and see visuals. Some people like reading. It is like a contribution to the community. I believe it is important to share knowledge and help each other. The more small and medium-sized businesses we create and develop — the better for our economy.

Where did you get inspiration for your TV shows and documentaries?

Together with the host of London Fashion Week, Monique and her team, we are developing season 1 of a new fashion and modeling show “The New Face of the Fashion World”. It is our main focus right now. The show aims to scout for talents and dreamers all around the US and then our European experts and designers will teach them and prepare them for a grand fashion show. It is about high-fashion, show business — and again, it will be very practical and not toxic. We have a lot of people joining from France, Italy, and Dubai.

As a director and showrunner, I’m happy to have this interest, partnership, and friendship from our British and European colleagues. We have a very talented and experienced creative producer Raahim Khan, who is a London-based fashion designer who directed many fashion shows in Dubai. We have interest from many well known brands wanting to join the show. It is definitely something unique that the industry has not had yet. This format, this content, and the people that we are bringing together, are all very intellectual, healthy, positive, intercultural and international. Another great aspect is that we are scouting

Victor Migalchan: That’s a great question. Mostly it comes from within. I get a lot of inspiration from people and their life stories. I focus on creating quality TV that helps people educate themselves, get knowledge, grow, and unite. I was invited to the 2019 EMMY Awards and in 2021 I was invited to serve as a judge at the Emmys. I saw what was being produced. I decided to take a different route because I wanted to present the old-school European values on which I was brought up.

Victor Migalchan: It was intense. We had a lot of shows to review and give our feedback on. I think it took me more than three or four days to watch all of the shows which were in my category. It was definitely interesting. I learned a lot about what the studios were creating and how. It showed me what the market is lacking and how I can make it better. It was another learning process for me. It was a privilege to be chosen as a judge at the Emmys.

Tell us more about your experience being a judge at the Emmys.

In 2022, I was invited to serve as a judge at the Creative Industry Awards in the UK, which was another great experience.

What are the most common mistakes in storytelling?

Victor Migalchan: I don’t think that there is such a thing as “common mistakes in storytelling”. I’d say that a lot of mistakes are being made because of a lack of proper marketing research and planning. The first step in creating a story is doing marketing research. A lot of people make mistakes just by thinking, “Oh, my story’s so amazing. I’m a great writer.” We have thousands of writers just here in LA. Can they deliver an efficient project from the business point of view? That is the question. In my case, what I do is I always start development backward: we start with marketing first. When we develop our scripts, we use math and we go from editing. To me — it’s all about efficiency. You cannot come to Hollywood and be like everyone else. Especially, you cannot have and should not have the studio mindset. Sure, for the studios it does not matter how much money they spend, but instead about how much they make. However, in order to get to that level you have to be efficient first. You have to be able to perform what others cannot. The way we create scripts is always math and marketing-based. Even a monkey can make a film with $100 million. Can you make it with $50,000 or less? That is the art and that is the question. This is when business knowledge comes in handy. Efficiency is a very important key to success. The way we create our scripts is always based on math and marketing research. We never waste resources, especially time. Locations, actors’ time, nothing shall be wasted. This type of approach helped us to finish filming one of our shows about 12 days sooner than expected, which helped save a lot of money.

Do you have a preference for a particular genre?

Victor Migalchan: I am interested in a few different genres. However, I do not have a preferred one. It is not about the genre, but always about a good story. If it is an interesting story, I would love to work on it. I feel like at this point in life I love working on sitcoms, on television and drama, and thrillers in film. After I finish all my current projects, I will focus more on feature films.

What TV shows do you enjoy watching when you are not producing or directing?

Victor Migalchan: When you work in show business, watching films and TV shows becomes a part of your work. It all depends on your goal. The main reason why I usually watch TV shows and films is to educate myself, not just for the sake of watching. I love learning from Quentin Tarantino’s films, Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, and James Cameron. Those guys are brilliant. If you want to get to the top, you have to learn from people who are on top. I think that Doug Ellin stands out with pretty funny humor. Paul Haggis is a great professional. The creators of “Friends”, David Crane and Marta Kauffman, are really brilliant. There are so many amazing professionals to learn from.

What do you think about Russian filmmakers trying to create shows about Russians?

Have you seen anything like that lately? We don’t really see any stories about the experiences of the Russian or Eastern European people. How do you feel about it?

Victor Migalchan: That is a good question. The question of cultural representation in Hollywood has been discussed so many times. This is one of the reasons why “My American Family” was created. My goal was to break stereotypes, show authentic cultures, and introduce something new. I was educated by many cultures in Europe as well as Chinese, which is why, as a filmmaker, I pursue this goal of presenting authentic cultures to unite and connect people. We have more in common than we think. There are so many forces that try to separate us even as we work towards unity.

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Re-live your childhood

The Sacramento Valley has a huge community of people who love remote control hobbies. Fast Track Hobbies has decided to bring the general community together to experience modern remotecontrol (RC) for themselves and to teach people about it. Everyone will have a chance to try driving an RC car, truck or boat for free! Try RC for yourself at the first annual RC FEST!

Dwight, where did you get the idea to create such a festival?

I have been to festivals like this before in other areas and it was so much fun that I decided it was time for Sacramento to have an RC festival. In the modern world of phones and video games, RC will get people outdoors and enjoying life. There is an exciting world of RC and hobbies and I want everyone to discover it!

We believe the Sacramento Valley RC Fest is going to be unforgettable for kids and parents alike! Our editor, Sofia Tsymbal had a chance to speak with the main organizer, Dwight, and ask him a few questions to learn more about this event.

What age is the festival suitable for? This festival is for all ages. I am sure that parents will be just as excited as their kids. Many adults played with an RC at some point in the past and it is time for them to enjoy this hobby again. RC has improved a lot with modern technology. This event is perfect for having a great time with the entire family.


Could you tell us more about what will happen at the festival and what to expect?

Everyone will have a chance to try their skills driving RC cars, trucks and boats. There is going to be a plastic model expo including cars, planes and jets! Enjoy RC Airplane demonstrations and learn how to use a metal detector! Everyone can participate in a relay Boat Race every hour with prizes! There will be a prize wheel and hourly raffles. Everyone is going to have a fun and exciting weekend at the festival!

Where else can people try playing with an RC other than the festival?

Fast Track Hobbies recently celebrated our 20th anniversary. We have over 9,000 square feet of RCs, hobbies and entertainment! We carry remote control toys, trains, metal detectors, puzzles, games, slot cars, etc. Slot car racing requires you to drive your car on the edge without pushing it past its limits and the more you practice the faster you will go for the win! We offer slot car racing

birthday party packages where you can race and party.

Where and when will the Sacramento Valley RC Fest be held?

We are hosting the event at Granite Bay Main Beach at Folsom Lake on May 7th . It starts at 11 am and the weather is going to be perfect that day for flying, boating, racing and having fun. If you are looking for a new hobby or want to show your rc skills, we are looking forward to meeting you at the festival! The first annual Sacramento Valley RC Fest is waiting for you and your family to enjoy together. There is no registration and no fees!

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