An interview with a well-known Tomsk citizen and an alumnus of Tomsk Polytechnic University Mikhail Kiselev who heads the Russian Student Teams Organization (RSTO) was published by RIA Tomsk. His personal tragedy became a role model for many people. It demonstrates how a success can be achieved no matter if you are a disabled person or not.
Mikhail comes from the region of Kolpashevo, Tomsk Oblast. He studied at Tomsk Polytechnic University and there he began his active social life as part of the student trade union. Then he worked at the Tomsk Region Headquarters of Student Teams, at the Central Headquarters of Student Teams in Moscow, and in 2011, at the age of 25 Kiselev was elected Head of the Russian Student Teams Organization (RSTO). ‘He is a strong leader of the largest youth organization and an open and bright person,’ his colleagues will write about him later.
In winter 2016, Mikhail suffered a tragedy, he damaged the spinal cord at the cervical spine, because of which his upper and lower limbs were immobilized. Members of the Russian Student Teams initiated a foundation to help their leader. Songs and videos were devoted to him, charity youth actions were arranged in different cities. People from all over the country helped him.
After the surgery in Moscow, fighting postoperative complications in Israel and rehabilitation at the metropolitan center Mikhail was able to live an active life, but in the wheelchair. He started to participate in the largest events for students and gathered talented youth around himself. Mikhail became a member of the Public Chamber of the Russian Federation, and recently he has become an agent of one of the candidates for the presidency.
RIA Tomsk journalist Eleonora Chernaya interviewed Mikhail Kiselev about public affairs and private life, the tragedy in the gym, and future plans by phone. It was a late interview, which was held when the RSTO head had finished his last business meeting.
- Mikhail, is it your regular schedule: from dawn till dusk? Do you have time for rehabilitation?
- The fact is that I have been living in the rehabilitation center for a year. My usual day looks here like this. From the early morning to 9.30 I’m calling to start working processes. Then there are various procedures: bandaging, exercises, physiotherapy, massage, droppers, and so on. I receive calls during the procedures.
After 3 p.m. I have appointments. I go to the city or meet visitors here. Today, for example, 12 colleagues gathered in my ward. This would be my regular day, which finishes at about 10 or 11 p.m. On weekends my wife and son come to see me at the center.
- Are you still in charge of the Russian Student Teams Organization? When does your term expire?
- I’m already in office for the second term. At the end of March, there will be elections at the coming congress of our organization.
- Will you bid for the new term?
- Yes, I will. I would not do this if I did not feel the support of the regions and board members who say that I am not mobile as before, but I have established contacts with everyone. Earlier, I could visit five regions in one week, there was a frantic schedule. For the last six years, I have managed to establish such relationships with regional administrations, governors, plenipotentiaries, which do not require my arrival to solve issues.
To understand what is happening there, it is enough for me to meet with regional headquarters, to contact them via skype or by phone. Now I can assist the headquarters through connections at the level of legislative and executive bodies. It is easier to find a required deputy in Moscow not in the regions to solve problems of regional student teams.
The full version of the interview is available on the RIA Tomsk website (in Russian).