Dissolving sibling rivalry

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By Kelly LeVan

Shooting water guns and playing tennis Wednesday afternoon at Urban Park, these kids seemed as American as any Los Alamos High School students.

Yet, the dozen or so teens were more than 7,000 miles from home.

Los Alamos has long held ties with its sister city Sarov, Russia – sometimes as competitors and often as friends.

The two cities have been comparable since the 1940s, when both were established to the development of their respective countries’ nuclear capacities. Sarov’s All-Russian Scientific Research Institute of Experimental Physics tested its first atomic bomb just four years after the Trinity tests, and both cities continue to excel in the field.

However, the Los Alamos Sarov Sister Cities Initiative, which brought the Russian students to Los Alamos this summer, is not about bombs at all. Rather, it hopes to foster a positive, mutually beneficial relationship between the two “secret cities.”

“We are trying to expand our relationship,” said Olga Mayorova, one of the group’s leaders, who has traveled to the Hill a number of times through the Open World Program, of which the Sister City Initiative is a part. “I have been taking part in the Sister City Initiative for four years, and we have succeeded.”

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