In July, we shared the story of the Sister City Committee of Travel Dubuque deciding to suspend the longtime relationship with Sister City Pyatigorsk, Russia.

Photo Credit: Keith B.
Photo Credit: Keith B.
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That decision made its way to the Dubuque City Council, which voted to officially sever the longstanding relationship at Monday night's Council meeting. While this decision by the Dubuque City Council is not expected to stir anyone's drink in Russia, it does send an important message of solidarity with Ukraine. The Sister City Committee cited Russia's ongoing war with Ukraine as the primary reason for taking the step to cut ties with the Russian City. Dubuque City Council gave the committee power over Dubuque's sister city relationships in 2017.

The long-term result of this Russian relationship remains unclear. However, the immediate ramifications mean the removal of signage and online mentions related to Pyatigorsk. Additionally, Pyatigorsk Park is to be renamed. It is located at 1600 Kerper Boulevard.

The Sister City relationship has been an ongoing international effort to promote social and cultural ties between communities worldwide. Dubuque's relationship with Pyatigorsk began in 1989 and was viewed positively until Russian President Vladimir Putin decided to invade Ukraine.

Similarly, in March, the City of Des Moines severed ties with its sister city Stavropol, Russia. Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie and Sister Cities Commission Chair Roger Nowadzky stated that the invasion could not go unchecked despite the two cities' 30-year relationship.

Despite China's well-documented human rights abuses, the City of Dubuque will continue to hold the sister city status with Handan, China. Additionally, it will maintain a similar position with Dornbirn, Austria.

According to the Dubuque Telegraph Herald, Mayor Brad Cavanagh sent a letter to Dmitry Voroshilov, Mayor of Pyatigorsk, expressing the committee's desire to maintain a relationship between cities and urged Pyatigorsk's leaders to condemn Russia's invasion of Ukraine openly.

Voroshilov countered by registering his concerns about the United States government's actions toward Russian citizens while defending his country's actions against Ukraine. While not helpful in advancing international relations, it likely kept the Russian Mayor in good stead with the Kremlin.

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