What do people from Düsseldorf to Volgograd have in common? With a view to promoting dialogue between German and Russian society, the Federal Foreign Office co-sponsors so-called German-Russian years. Over the course of a year, ties between the two countries in a certain sphere are showcased.
Strengthening dialogue in difficult times
Relations between Germany and Russia have been strained since the illegal annexation of Crimea and Russia’s interference in eastern Ukraine. This makes the space for dialogue and exchange that is created through partnership projects all the more important. The German-Russian years aim to strengthen and expand networks and contacts between civil societies. In 2017/2018, the focus was on municipal and regional partnerships.
Great interest among Germans and Russians
At the closing conference on 14 September in Berlin, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov welcomed the success of the programme. They underscored the vibrant town twinning network and the great interest on both sides in having an intensive exchange. In the space of one year, three new town twinnings were established, among other things. A partnership project between German and Russian associations is now also being discussed.
Awards presented for strong commitment to town twinning
From a pool of more than 240 projects, a German-Russian jury selected 30 twinnings that were awarded a certificate signed by both Foreign Ministers, in recognition of their exceptional contributions to municipal and regional cooperation between Germany and Russia. The selected twinnings are representative of all other successful twinnings that submitted their bids (link).
Focus on research
The next German-Russian year, which is also being held under the auspices of both Foreign Ministers, will focus on university collaboration and research. The launch event will take place before the end of 2018 in Moscow. This German-Russian year will run longer than usual, until 2020. The aim is to highlight, as well as strengthen and expand, the diverse range of German-Russian cooperation, ties, academic exchange, networking, mobility and innovation.
On the German side, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) in Bonn will act as the implementing organisation for the German-Russian year, which is sponsored and managed by the Federal Foreign Office. The DAAD will receive support from its own regional office and the German Center for Research and Innovation in Moscow. More details will be announced soon. A website devoted to the project will present joint activities of universities, academic networks and research institutions. It will also show what individual actors are doing to promote bilateral academic exchange, as well as raise the profile of cooperation and partnership between Germany and Russia.
Point of contact:
Dr. Gundula Herwig
Special adviser for German-Russian years