Dubuque Severs Ties With Russian Sister City
The ongoing war in Ukraine has led to the casualty of an indefinite suspension of the Sister City relationship shared by Dubuque, Iowa, and Pyatigorsk, Russia.
References to Dubuque's sister city will likely be removed soon due to the Sister City Committee of Travel Dubuque's decision to sever ties. Still, a brief blurb about Pyatigorsk remains on the City of Dubuque website.
Pyatigorsk (also spelled Piatigorsk, meaning "five mountains city") is Russia's oldest ecological and mud resort. It goes on to state that its resident population is about 142,000. It's an industrial, commercial, scientific, cultural, and tourist center of the eco-resort region Caucasian Mineral Waters.
Little is known as to why the Sister City Committee decided to sever ties except for brief mentions of the ongoing war by Russia against Ukraine in local news reports.
Russia is a massive country, and Pyatigorsk is hundreds of miles from Moscow and Kiyv. Yet, the Dubuque Committee appears to view the relationship as untenable with recent events and Russia's war against its neighboring country.
The Dubuque City Council repealed its commission on December 18, 2017, in favor of transitioning Sister City Activities to the Dubuque Convention and Visitors Bureau and Travel Dubuque. However, according to the City website, one City Council member serves on the Sister City Committee as the City's official representative, and the City Clerk serves as the City's staff liaison.
Dubuque has maintained Sister City relationships with three cities: Dornbirn, Austria; Handan, China; and Pyatigorsk, Russia.
The City of Dubuque named a small pocket park after Pyatigorsk. It is located at the intersection of 16th Street and Kerper Blvd. It's unclear if the park will be renamed and what that may cost should the park be renamed.
The Purpose of the Sister City has been to facilitate and maintain economic and cultural exchanges and engage in partnerships with the business community and educational institutions.
Dubuque is not alone in its international outreach to Russian sister cities. Iowa is third to California and Florida in the number of such arrangements. In March, Des Moines suspended its relationship with Russian sister city Stavropol in response to the invasion of Ukraine.
Council Bluffs – Tobolsk
Des Moines – Stavropol
Dubuque – Pyatigorsk
Grinnel – Zaheleznovodsk
Muscatine – Kislovodsk
Osage – Lermontov
Sister City relationships date back to the 9th Century, with the modern concept taking root in the Second World War. International City diplomacy is a form that involves discussions between officials and residents of different cities. Often these cities will be located in other countries.