Oklahoma City Council Votes To Suspend Relationship With Russian Sister City

News 9 - September 4, 2022 8:50 am


The Oklahoma City Council voted to suspend its partnership with a Russian city. This comes after Ukraine asked U.S. mayors to terminate their relationships with Russian sister cities.

Oklahoma City (OKC) has been in a partnership with Ulyanovsk, Russia for over 20 years. The city council recently voted to stand in solidarity with Ukraine and put this relationship on pause.

As the war in Ukraine continues, OKC Mayor David Holt is presenting a resolution on where OKC lies.

The resolution said “the people of Oklahoma City stand with the people of Ukraine in their efforts to sustain their freedom.”

The city council voted unanimously to suspend the partnership until they either decide to proactively cancel or reinstate it.

Mary Blankenship Pointer with Sister Cities OKC Incorporated said Ulyanovsk and OKC joined forces in 1995. She said during this time the former president of Oklahoma City University was linked to both Oklahoma and Russia.

“The former president Jerald Walker was a professor at a university in Moscow,” Pointer said.

The memorandum said the two cities will exchange historical, social demographic and other information, but as of 1997, there has been no contact.

“I think if you were to ask the people in Russia about having a sister city in Oklahoma City, I think they’re probably not aware that we have a sister city relationship,” Pointer said.

“I did take the step of reaching out to our sister city which I did not hear from,” Mayor Holt said.

Pointer said not communicating with a sister city is rare.

“The purpose of sister cities was for educational, cultural and economic reasons,” Pointer said.

She said Oklahoma City now has seven sister cities it communicates with frequently.

The City of Edmond said their sister city relationship with Engels, Russia has been inactive for years. They voted this past summer to make their entire sister city association inactive.


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