Eugene Mayor Lucy Vinis has contacted Mayor Bolotov of Irkutsk, Russia, with an email condemning Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and praising Russian citizens who are openly opposing the invasion. Eugene and Irkutsk have been Sister Cities since 1988, and both cities have hosted delegations of a variety of ages, occupations, and professions in the past three decades.
Mayor Vinis’ email to Mayor Bolotov made clear that the Sister City relationship does not signify approval of the invasion. “We understand that as Mayor, you and your city are not responsible for this action, but as our Sister City, Irkutsk is our closest diplomatic connection to the Russian government. Because of our long mutual history, we need to emphasize that our Sister City relationship must not be interpreted as approval or complacency in the face of this inexcusable war and loss of life on both sides.”
The last delegation from Irkutsk that visited Eugene was in 2018. The Sister City relationship is a peacemaking program – it is intended to reach across political divisions through cultural and educational exchanges.
See Mayor Vinis’ complete statement in the attached PDF file.