Vignette 297 > Russian Sister City

Sister City Committee Party

In 1987, Mill Valley mayor Alison Ruedy initiated the Russian Sister City Committee.  Initially there were about 20 members, but during the next eight years many more townspeople became active participants in the committee’s work. In April 1988, a “Soviets Meet Middle America” trip to the west coast visited Mill Valley. When one of the Soviets learned that Milll Valley was looking for a sister city in the Soviet Union, he immediately suggested Olympic Village. The summer Olympic games had been held in Moscow in 1980. The area in southwest Moscow where athletes lived was by then a residential district of about 15,000 residents. During the following years, several committee members had meetings in Moscow, and several citizens of Olympic Village visited Mill Valley. But progress slowed with the dissolution of the Soviet Union. On December 25, 1991 Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev resigned, declared his office extinct and handed over its powers to Russian President Boris Yeltsin. In January 1996, after a long hiatus, members of the committee assembled for a celebration at Alison Ruedy’s house to mark the end of a valiant, sometimes frustrating, but worthwhile effort by so many dedicated people. Olympic Village and Mill Valley are sister cities.