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Author: Cristian Cantir

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.”

July 14, 2022 - Cristian Cantir

Moldova’s oligarch mayors go global

The experience of Moldova reveals that in Central and Eastern Europe’s highly politicised and oligarchised environment, city diplomacy can be an easy tool for wealthy politicians suspected of corruption to gain more popularity and shield themselves from the judicial system. Ilan Șor and Renato Usatîi have been particularly adept in this realm.

Orhei, a medium-sized city about an hour north of Chișinău, is an unlikely rival to Monaco. Yet mayor Ilan Șor – one of the country’s oligarchs – promised in 2018 that Orhei’s residents would “live as they do” in the European principality. Farther north, in Bălți, mayor Renato Usatîi – yet another oligarch – claimed to have started a revolution in the city’s contacts with the world.

November 16, 2020 - Cristian Cantir

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Agencja interaktywna: hauerpower krakow studio krakow.