Regional Chapter of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS-IHSS)

It is our pleasure to inform the Society about the decision of the scientists and engineers from Russia and the other countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) to join their efforts in fostering humic substances research in the framework of the newly born Regional Chapter - CIS IHSS.

The idea to organize the CIS Chapter was born by the spirit of the NATO Advanced Research Workshop (ARW) "Use of humates to remediate polluted environments: from theory to practice" held in September 23-29, 2002 in Zvenigorod, Russia. The Workshop brought together more than 50 scientists all over the world including 25 participants from five CIS states (Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, and Ukraine). We were proud to see among the participants the President of IHSS - Prof. Chen, and Past President of IHSS- Prof. Frimmel.

The ARW gave a unique chance to the humic researchers from the Former USSR to meet again after a long break. It was attended by the representatives of almost all the leading Soviet schools in the field of humic research including Acad. Jorobekova (Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan), Prof. Bezuglova (Rostov-on-Don, Russia), Prof. Gorova (Dnepropetrovsk, Ukraine), Dr. Chukov (St. Petersburg), Drs. Kogut and Sadovnikova (Moscow, Russia), Dr. Vasilchuk (Kiev, Ukraine). Unfortunately, two invited lecturers from Belarus - from the Institute of Rational Use of Natural Resources and Ecology (NAS) - Acad. Bambalov and Prof. Puntus had to cancel their visits shortly before the beginning of the ARW, - and we indeed missed their lectures. Nothing could replenish a void of absence of Prof. Galina M. Varshal - the prominent Soviet-Russian scientist from the Institute of Geochemistry and Analytical Chemistry of RAS. She passed away on July 16, 2001: her lecture on the geochemical role of humics in metal migration would have had to open the Workshop... Prof. Varshal was an outstanding scientist and a bright and generous personality, - the real "knight of science". Her science will live further in her works, and her life will continue in those of us who got lucky to get a personal touch of hers. Thank you for being in our lives, Galina Moiseevna.

The lectures, posters, scientific discussions, - all about our common "humic" science, as well as conversations, jokes, and songs, - all about and from our common life, have shown that we still have so much to share that we don't want to lose our common roots again. The general feeling was that together we can reach much more than living further separated from one another. That is why it was not surprising at all that the Meeting of the National Russian IHSS Chapter opened for all the CIS participants of the ARW, turned out to be the birth place for the idea of the Regional CIS Chapter. The quintessence of the idea was that the new Regional Chapter should in no means become an alternative to the existing Russian Chapter; on contrary, its main strength and purpose could be reached only if the Russian Chapter would support the above idea and join the Regional Chapter. Having these considerations in mind the participants of the Meeting took unequivocally two main decisions: (1) to announce the foundation of the new Regional Chapter - CIS IHSS, and (2) to turn to all the members of the Russian Chapter with a request for the ballot vote on the issue of integrating the Russian Chapter into the CIS Chapter. The responsibility for conducting the corresponding ballot vote was delegated to the Regional Coordinator and Vice-Coordinator. As those were unequivocally elected Irina Perminova (Department of Chemistry, Lomonosov MSU) - Coordinator, and Olga Iakimenko (Department of Soil Science, Lomonosov MSU) - Vice-Coordinator.

Shortly after the meeting, the information letter on the organization of CIS-IHSS and the detailed protocol of the Open Meeting of the Russian IHSS were put at the web-site of the newly formed Chapter. Together with the ballot votes, they were e-mailed to the members of the Russian Chapter. The corresponding voting took place in December 2002. Plus to 8 members attending the Workshop in Zvenigorod, 15 more Russian IHSS members took place in the voting. This made 23 votes out of about 50 members that were in the list of the participants of the Russian IHSS. Given that substantial part of members were students who have changed their addresses, affiliations, and activities, whereas some members moved abroad or changed their working profile, and few members passed away, the obtained vote participation was considered as representative. All the votes were for joining the newly formed CIS IHSS Chapter that made the latter a legitimate successor of the Russian IHSS Chapter. As the main goal of its activities, the CIS IHSS has declared consolidation of the efforts of the CIS scientists in the field of basic and applied humic research.

Today, after a year of our founding date - September 25, 2002 - CIS IHSS has a membership of 62 scientists and engineers, 48 of those are regular members, and 14 are student members. They are scientists and engineers both from research institutes and industrial firms. Russia is represented by the scientists from the Lomonosov Moscow State University (Departments of Chemistry, Biology, Geology, and Soil Science); Rostov State University, Saint-Petersburg State University; Bach Institute of Biochemistry RAS; Gubkin State University of Oil and Gas; Dokuchaev Soil Science Institute; Sukachev Institute of Forestry RAS, and other organizations; the other CIS-States - by the scientists from the Institute of Hydrobiology Ukrainian NAN; the Al-Farabi Kazakh National University; Institute of Chemistry and Chemical Technology, Kyrgyz Republic. The scope of scientific interests includes structure, molecular properties, and genesis of humic substances, interactions of humics with heavy metals and organic ecotoxicants, application of humics for remediation technologies, biological activity of humics; technologies of manufacturing and agricultural applications of humics, and others. We are glad to be a part of the world-wide humic research community. We are open for cooperation and welcome any kind of HUMIC activities.

Regional coordinator Irina Perminova

Rice-coordinator Olga Iakimenko