Donald D Harder – Editor-in-Chief & CEO
Seventeen years ago I was working as a Senior Staff Writer at the US Department of Justice, right across the street from the FBI building in downtown Washington DC when I walked into the department director’s office and handed him my laptop and my resignation. Something important was missing. I didn’t want to just live my life. I wanted experiences this world doesn’t offer those tapping away at keyboards in offices surrounded by political wonks, bureaucrats and Washington insiders.
Before settling down among the ranks of professionals in Washington, I had spent time living abroad and gaining experiences with other cultures that stoked an inner wanderlust that burned ever brighter until that one day it pushed me over the edge forcing me to give up security and a promising career for possibility and what the French call Joie de vivre.
So, my wife and I sold or gave away most of what we owned and packed up what was left to start anew in St. Petersburg Russia, which we have called home for more than 16 years now.
Don graduated from Boise State University in 1997 with a degree in International Relations. While in school, he interned with Physicians For Social Responsibility, a K-Street lobby group, where he lobbied against nuclear proliferation. He later worked in a consultant capacity for two Olympic organizations: he wrote Idaho’s 2002 Winter Olympic Game Strategy for the Idaho Department of Travel and Tourism, and then helped develop the English version of the website for Turin Italy’s 2006 Winter Olympic Bid Committee. Later, Don spent 5 years working in the US capital, starting with the United States Mint, and then later moving on to Housing and Urban Development before ending up at the Department of Justice. Don has an earlier background in finance, having worked as a financial advisor for American Express and then later serving on the board of directors for Moscow-based firm Nettrader, which is now part of the large European and Central Asian investment group, Freedom Finance. For 10 years, he owned and operated a financial consulting service, Securities Research Services.
Ajay Goyal – Founder & Publisher
I was born and raised in the North Indian University city of Kurukshetra. This is the city where epic Indian tale of Mahabharata is set, where Krishna revealed the law of Karma to warrior prince Arjuna.
My roots must have given me the values and virtues of honour, justice, integrity, courage and stoicism I have carried within myself through the last thirty years of my life of entrepreneurship in nine countries and some of the best years of my life creating, living and working in Russia.
I had a choice of being a mere witness, when I decided to be an active participant when history was being made. In 1991 I risked all to stand in front of the tanks of the junta that sought to end aspirations of freedom and democracy.
There has always been a great spiritual and cultural bond between India and Russia and I grew up reading treasures of Russian classics of Tolstoy, Gorky, Dostoevsky, Turgenev and Sholokhov from the young age of 13 when my father bought for me a whole set of them. From that day on my life was about mathematics and classics.
Soon after graduating as an engineer, I started traveling to create new ventures. I have traveled far and wide in Russia and even though I have not lived in Russia for nearly 14 years now; I travel often, to Baikal and Altai, Saint Petersburg and Sochi; to Kazan and far north, with a childlike curiosity and awe.
I have no business interests in Russia for several years now. This website is a labour of love, dedicated to hope that we can create a bridge of communication and understanding, empathy and respect, so the people of Russia can live in peace and pursuit of prosperity in partnership with the people of the world.