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Association  Zemliaky (Compatriots) Illinois USA

The association is a not-for-profit, non - political organization.
Our Mission:  We help people who came from different regions  of the former Soviet Union to successfully adapt to American life and to become respected  American citizens willing and capable to contribute to the society.

Association Zemliaky was founded in 1995 and registered on March 27 1995.  It numbered 700 members at the time – since then the number doubled.
In March 1995 Association was registered at the office of the Secretary of State, IL.  Next year organization got a license from the Federal Income Tax under section 501(c )  of the Internal Revenue Code as an organization described in section 501 ( c) (3).  Many people were involved in these activities.

Since 1995 the President of the Association is Dr. Arkadiy Kleban (Ukraine).  The Association Board includes A. Khmelnitsky (Ukraine), Izyaslav Gabelev (Ukraine), Emil Kaganov (Ukraine), Lyudmila Shikhman (Ukraine), Valery Kuvanovsky (Ukraine), Vlad Zubkas (Lithuania), Benjamin Badalov (Uzbekistan), Marta Mastro (Ukraine), Iosif  Katsman (Belarus) Michael Shlafshtan (Kirgizstan).

Activities and Publications.
Activities cover professional orientation and help to find an appropriate job; also association tries to help people in improving English skills, and to help people to find appropriate physician and health care specialists.
The Association has been publishing a newspaper with the same name – Zemliaky (twice a month) since November 1996.

Coalition and Partner Organization.
The Association keeps a very good relationship with the Veterans Organization, USA, with Okton and Solex colleges, and with the ORT Institute.

Notable members
The Association is proud to have among its members many distinguished persons, namely

Dr. Timofey Liokumovich (Belarus),  Dr. Tatyana Shulkina, member of Board from 2015(Russia),

Dr. Valery Kogan (Latvia),  Dr. Gregory Lishansky (Belarus), Dr. Emil Moldavsky (Ukraine),

Dr. Lilia Kantorovich (Belarus), Dr. Berta Gurevich , Igor Galavanov, teacher year, 2013 (Georgia),

Arkady Grays, singer year 2014, (Ukraine), Efim Spektorov, World War II veteran (Ukraine). 

The Association has created different programs to work with immigrants. The following activities are performed by the Association:

1. Arrangement of studying English as a second language; learning the History and Constitution of the United States to pass the citizenship tests.

2. The Association organizes meetings for people who came from the same regions of former Soviet Union to give them an opportunity to communicate with each other and discuss their problems.

The Association "Zemliaky" builds its structure by organizing groups of people who came from the same locations, cities, republics, or regions. Then they have a meeting where they elect the council of three people and then they elect a chairman from those three. These groups were organized for people from Ukraine, Belarus, Moldova, Uzbekistan, Odessa, Kiev, and others. In addition, the Association organizes parties for people where they can see movies, dance, sing, and do whatever they want to have fun (food and beverages are provided by the Association). People make friends at these parties and try to help each other with all problems. To prepare these meetings, the Association creates groups of 3-5 people who work on the entertainment program. Guests of such meetings and parties are always thankful for having good time. It is conducted by our volunteers.  We invite musicians to our parties.
Also, the Association conducts other parties and meetings dedicated to some holidays and important days. At the parties, there is an orchestra led by a volunteer. This work will continue in the future as well. This activity is very helpful for the immigrants: it helps in adaptation, in overcoming the depression and nostalgia.

3. The Association Zemliaky pays a great attention to the work with youth. The Association has helped in organizing the Youth Club "Erudite" where young people play a very famous in world game "What? Where?  When?”.

Young people want to join this club, so they can have some interesting thing to do together. Second Club is KVN. We have organized this club…

4. The Association helps in arranging children study groups in arts, music and chess.
Music Cultural Program: Lessons on piano, keyboard, guitar, etc, for groups as well as individual lessons for gifted children.   Children's concerts and a Festival of Children's Art demonstrate this. Also, children perform at different meetings and parties. The Association uses space at the ORT Technical Institute (3050 W. Touhy Ave.), and the Valanna Company (2921 W. Devon Ave. Chicago). The art director for this program is volunteer Emil Kaganov, Ph.D., a natural and graphic artist, who taught different schools in Kiev, Ukraine.

5. The Association helps writers, actors, artists, and other artistic people to express their abilities and talents in performances, movies, radio and TV programs, and newspaper publishing. The Association maintains its status through its activities and communication channels.  A number of fliers have been published to help people to overcome their problems and difficulties.?  Every Saturday poets, writers, journalists, artists etc, gather in the office to discuss problems of a new life, read novels and poems.  This activity will continue. The leader of this writers group was a very talented writer Efim Chepovetskiy.
Since November 1996, the biweekly newspaper Zemliaky (Compatriots) has been published.  The current issue and archives are available.

6. The Association Zemliaky organizes groups which unite immigrants from various regions of the former Soviet Union, according to their national origin and professional background. These groups elect their leaders who inform members about meetings, parties, and so forth.  Volunteers lead groups without any compensation. As a result, people have opportunities to communicate with each other more often, discuss their problems, and help those who need help. This activity started in July of 1995 and has been continued since.

7. The Association Zemliaky has sport sections for chess and checkers. Championships were organized in Chicago and Milwaukee.

8. For lonely people who want to make their personal life better, the Association has a club for singles called Love Again. Many people of all ages come to the club meetings. With the help of this club, there have been over 80 weddings.

The Association has organized the following since its founding:                                                               

  1. Meeting for people who came from Kiev, Ukraine.                         
  2. Meeting for people who came from Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
  3. A New Year masquerade and celebration.
  4. Published brochure for taking the citizenship test.
  5. Meeting dedicated to the memory of famous poet Perez Markish on his 100th anniversary.


 1. Start publishing a newspaper Zemliaky (Compatriots).
2. Meeting commemorating the 55-th anniversary of the tragedy of Babbiy Yar in Kiev where thousands of people were killed
by the Nazis during World War ll.
 3. Meeting for people who came from Kharkov, Ukraine.
 4. International Women’s Day celebration (March 8).
 5. Meeting for people who came from Zhitomir, Ukraine.          
 6.Meeting for people who came from Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
 7. Published a book with questions in preparation for the citizenship test.  


 1. International Women’s Day celebration (March 8).
 2. Meeting for people who came from Kharkov, Ukraine. (August 24)
 3. Meeting for people who came from Kiev, Ukraine. (November 2)
 4. Exhibitions of children's art.
 5. Published a book with questions in preparation for the citizenship test.
 7. Opened a singles club called Love Again.
 8. Opened a Checkers club.

And same every year. For example, last years on today’s:


1. Meeting dedicated to 90th birthday of Russian pоet Bulat Окudjava.

2. Valentine’s Day concert. Svetlana Marchenko ensemble. ОRT Institute hall, 

January 15.

3.Meeting-Concert to celebrate 20 years of Association Zemliaky (Compatriots).

4.Theater “Welcome” concert.

5.Meeting with poet Arkady Shlyapintokh. ORT Institute hall.


1.Meeting-Concert for people who came from the city of Dnepr and other cities in Ukraine.
2. Solidarity meeting with people of Israel in the ORT Institute hall.
3. Meeting- Concert for people who came from the city of Tashkent   and other cities in Uzbekistan.
4. Meeting/Concert to celebrate 20 years of the newspaper Zemliaky. 


1. Membership meeting of the Association Zemliaky to award Person of the Year 2017 and Best Volunteers Diplomas.  (New review new performance theater Welcome «Intelligence newspaper» in hall library   Nails 4 march). Lunch at the restaurant Zhivago.
2. Celebration of the World War II Victory Day (May 8).
3.  Excursion to the Chicago Botanic garden.
4. Meeting for people who came from Kiev and other cities in Ukraine at the restaurant Lone Tree Manor.

Association Zemliaky opened:

  1. Theater Welcome in 2008.
  2. Diabetes prevention club in 2009.
  3. Inventors club in 2001.
  4. Health school.
  5. Newspaper Zemliaky discussion club.