By Chris Paul
During the Monday night Town Council meeting, members voted to break all ties with Russia by revoking a longstanding Russian Sister City Agreement.
The “Twin Cities Resolution” agreement was established back in 1991 with the city of Vologda in the USSR, but none of the current members of the Town Council had any idea of its origin, or why it had been established 30 years ago.
Londonderry’s Acting Town Manager, Mike Malaguti, began the discussion on whether to revoke or suspend ties with the city of Vologda by reading portions of a letter sent to the town by the Consul General of Ukraine in New York.
In the letter, Olekii Holubov asked that the town to express solidarity with Ukraine and revise its “sister-cooperation” with Russian Vologda to suspend or stop it.
The letter, dated March 15, highlighted the military aggression by Russia and civilian casualities saying that Russia is “breaking all possible rules and principles of international and humanitarian law.
Malaguti stated that he was able to find a copy of the original agreement, which was dated May 6, 1991 and got some information about it through Planning Board Chairman, Art Rugg.
Rugg had told Malaguti that there has not been any action on the agreement in over 10-years and that the exchange committee has since been defunct.
Malaguti noted that there was a provision in the document that any action to suspend the agreement should have a three-month period before terminating, but felt due to the current conditions going on in the Ukraine, they would be certainly be within their rights to have it take effect immediately.
Councilor Deb Paul moved to revoke the agreement, with the other four members voting in favor of discontinuing the town’s relationship with Russia.
According to the 1991 resolution, the agreement established a partnership with Londonderry and the City Executive Committee of the People’s Deputies Soviet of Vologda.
One of the points in the agreement stated that it would promote friendly ties and contribute greatly to peace and mutual understandin.
It also had a resolution stating that if Londonderry were to send a delegation to Vologda, the sending city would pay the round trip airfare and the host city would pay for all the living expenses while they were visiting.