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The power of local diplomacy

Local networks and “sister city agreements” have become an opportunity for local governments to express their outrage directly to Russian cities or partners. Since the end of February, cities like Glasgow, Turku, Tokyo and Tallinn have suspended their relations with their sister cities in protest of the invasion.

In 1986, the Chicago City Council passed an ordinance to divest city funds from banks connected to the South African government. Hundreds of US cities and states adopted similar policies in the last years of the Cold War, lending a hand to national decision-makers – and sometimes pushing them – to end apartheid. These actions were part of a longstanding tradition of local government diplomacy that has continued during the Russian invasion of Ukraine. In March, Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot announced that she was suspending sister city ties with Moscow. “While this is not a decision I enter into lightly”, Mayor Lightfoot explained, “we must send an unambiguous message: we strongly condemn all actions by the Putin regime.”
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July 14, 2022 - Cristian Cantir - Hot TopicsIssue 4 2022Magazine

Ukrainian Protest against Russian invasion of Ukraine at Sts. Volodymyr and Olha Ukrainian Catholic Church in Chicago. Photo: iwonder TV / Shutterstock

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