The Federal Foreign Office is supporting exchange between towns and municipalities in Germany and Russia via the German-Russian Year of Municipal and Regional Partnerships 2017/18. A lively network of partnerships between municipalities, towns and regions in the two countries has already been in place for decades and includes youth exchange, professional exchange programmes, cultural projects and business cooperation. Over 100 town-twinning projects and 14 Land partnerships foster contacts between people from all walks of life.
Safeguarding space for dialogue
Relations between Germany and Russia have been strained since the illegal annexation of Crimea and Russia’s interference in eastern Ukraine. This makes it all the more important to have space for dialogue and exchange. Such space is created by partnership projects at local level. The aim of the German-Russian years, which focus on a different topic each time and are funded on the German side by the Federal Foreign Office, and of the current year in particular, is to strengthen and expand networks and civil-society contacts.
From Chemnitz and Volgograd to Düsseldorf and Moscow
In the online portal russlandpartner.de, a central platform has been set up to show the entire scope of the cooperation and bring interested cities and municipalities in Germany and Russia together. Established town-twinning projects provide clear proof of the potential of municipal partnerships. From Chemnitz and Volgograd to Düsseldorf and Moscow, joint theatre productions, concert tours, a regular exchange of town ambassadors, and university competitions on climate protection show that exchange between Germany and Russia can be of great benefit to towns and municipalities.