The Albany-Tula Alliance was founded in 1991 by a group of citizens from the Capital Region of New York as a sister-city program.
The first stirring of interest that led to the creation of the Albany-Tula Alliance came in the summer of 1991 when it became clear that the former Soviet Union was disintegrating. Two Albany citizens wrote to the Mayor of Albany suggesting that Russia would need a lot of help if: the former Soviet Union countries were to successfully become democratic, they were to succeed in participating in the free world economy, and peace were to be maintained in those countries.
Citizen Volunteers Organize
Albany attorney and resident Charlotte S. Buchanan and Mayor Thomas Whalen gathered a group of Capital Region citizens to consider a sister-city program with a Soviet City. Terry Doyle assembled considerable background information on the cities of Makeyevka, Perm, Sochi, Tula and Yaroslavl. The group identified many similarities between the Tula region and the Capital Region — both contain the capital cities for a regional government, important academic institutions, and locations on a river. The two metropolitan areas are also of similar size.
Once the choice of Tula was made, the Albany-Tula Alliance was formed. Attention quickly turned to the short range goal of helping some of the citizens of our sister city through the winter with material goods. That winter, the Alliance gathered more than eight tons of food, clothing and medicine for delivery to Tula.
Growing Far Beyond the Original Mission – A Rich Two-Way Relationship
The Alliance has grown into a vigorous, effective organization that supports numerous cultural, humanitarian, educational, health and economic activities in the Capital Region and in the Tula Region of Russia.
The Alliance was incorporated in January of 1992 with tax exempt status as an IRC 501 (c) (3) organization. Official proclamations from the governments of the cities of Tula and Albany, and the support of both governments, attest to the importance and viability of the Alliance.
Staffed by volunteers, the Alliance has captured the interest and commitment of several hundred Capital Region leaders. They contribute to the organization’s success through a committee structure that focuses on delivering progress through tangible results. More that 200 families from each country have participated in Alliance programs. In its first 20 years, the Alliance has demonstrated the value of far-reaching and comprehensive exchanges and relationships between regions in dramatically different circumstances. We have learned much about and with each other, and will continue to strive to extend and deepen the relationships between our regions.