Monday, October 2, 2023
HomePoliticsAnchorage Assembly puts sister city relationship with Magadan on ice

Anchorage Assembly puts sister city relationship with Magadan on ice

The Anchorage Assembly unanimously approved a resolution encouraging the mayor to suspend the Municipality of Anchorage sister city relationship with Magadan, Russia.

The resolution calls on Mayor Dave Bronson to temporarily remove or cover any remaining municipal symbols of the Sister City linkage to Magadan, Russia officially displayed on municipal websites, buildings, flag poles or structures.

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The municipality’s website devoted to the relationship, which is intended to foster peace, is at this link.
Anchorage and Magadan officially became Sister Cities in 1991; it’s Anchorage’s 6th sister city relationship.

Magadan is located in the Russian Far East in the Siberian taiga and has a population of about 100,000. It is a center for shipbuilding, fishing, and mining industries.

“During the Stalinist era, Magadan was founded as a penal colony – centered on the vast, productive mining operations upon the upper Kolyma River since farming was difficult due to its tundra landscape. Its proximity to the Pacific Ocean made for Magadan to thrive as a port city, all of these factors contributing to the population spike. Because of its port, shipbuilding and fishing are the major industries today with remnants of its gold mining past still present. The nearest major city is over 1,200 miles away by unpaved road, making Magadan largely isolated and self-dependent,” the city’s web page that is dedicated to the friendship explains.

“Magadan is a popular tourist destination today, in part because of its painful association with the Gulag forced labor camps of the Stalin era. In 1996, sculptor Ernst Neizvestny completed the Mask of Sorrow monument, which stands in Magadan commemorating those who died in the Kolyma labor camps during the Soviet purges. The Church of the Nativity is part of the diocese of Anchorage, Alaska, and ministers to the survivors of the labor camps.”

As of one year ago, over 100 cities around the country had sister city ties with Russian cities, but about 10 had already severed or suspended those ties.

The severed cities include Moscow (by Chicago and Santa Clara County), Stravropol (Des Moines, Iowa), Leningrad Region (state of Maryland), Voronezh (Charlotte, North Carolina), Saratov (Dallas) and Krasnodar (Tallahassee, Florida).

Suspended ties include Colorado Springs (Smolensk), Sarasota, Florida (Vladimir) and Norfolk, Virginia (Kaliningrad).

Juneau has a sister city relationship with Vladivostok. Fairbanks has a sister city relationship with Yakutsk. Homer’s sister city is Yelizovo, and Homer has a large Russian-heritage population of Old Believers.

A list from 2022 of sister cities with Russia, likely incomplete and not up to date, can be found at this Sand Diego Times link.

Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing
Suzanne Downing had careers in business and journalism before serving as the Director of Faith and Community-based Initiatives for Florida Gov. Jeb Bush and returning to Alaska to serve as speechwriter for Gov. Sean Parnell. Born on the Oregon coast, she moved to Alaska in 1969.


  1. I think this a shocking slap in the face and unnecessary provocation by the Bolsheviks on the assembled against their Stalinist brothers and sisters in Magadan. What are they thinking?

  2. Shouldn’t this be considered isolationist? I loathe this disavowing of Russian citizens (and cringe virtue signaling) all because of the actions that Putin and the Kremlin are doing.

  3. Its’ sad that the citizens of all cities need to be split and considered enemies. All this does is create more division and angst, which the globalists want. Russia is ruled by an evil and corrupt regime and we have incompetence and corruption on our side. Sad.

  4. We (Juneau) have a strong Russian connection ourselves. We ought not break it if/until things get worse. Ukraine isn’t our war.

    Aside, I guess there is signage somewhere, but I can’t recall seeing it.

  5. They hate the fact that the strongest connection we have to Magadan is Catholic. Belief in God is anathema to their secularist religion.

  6. I’m glad that the local progressives suddenly care about children being stolen from parents for political re-education

  7. Let Putin and Biden slug it out on pay per view and leave the rest of us alone. We don’t need any wars the are destructive to the environment. This is not our fight. We saved Europe twice this time they’re on their own. Because of two big headed leaders we can’t be friends with other cities.

  8. Shouldn’t that be “CIS-city relationship with Magadan”?
    The use of the word “sister” is binary-normative and therefore a capital offense.

  9. The Assembly most likely nixed the sister city plan because ‘Magadan’ contains the letters, M-A-G-A. ;

  10. What does it mean to convey sister city status anyway? Is that just another empty platitude like ‘drug free school zone’ or in this case ‘have a nice day’ but directed at a section of property?

  11. When you think about it, Magadan is about as far from Moscow as we are from DC. And probably has more in common with Alaska than they do with Moscow as we probably have more in common with them than we do with DC. We should probably keep our good relationships with our Russian counterparts while our stupid leaders slug it out. They are no more responsible for what is going on in Ukraine than we are.

  12. So the assembly wishes to declare war against the common (and very friendly) people of Magadan? Who do think they are representing. Those people have nothing to do with their distant leadership decisions. It has taken years to develop a friendship with our close neighbors, many of whom are related to our native peoples. How racist can you get, assembly of hypocrites. Leave the wars to the professionals in DC and Moscow. It’s out of your jurisdiction. Limit your actions to your own penal colony.

  13. Europe and America are creating an iron curtain, isolating ourselves from the rest of the world. We have evolved into a police state which monitors all communication, determines what speech is acceptable, arrests political opposition leaders and supports internal terrorist groups like Antifa and BLM to terrorize Americans. We also have a multitude of NGOs that foment violent unrest in many countries to topple governments. Installing a one party extremist government in Ukraine that is utterly destroying their economy, environment and social fabric at behest of our state department is a disaster. It also has shown we are unable to sustain the logistics (durable weapon systems and ammunition supplies) of successfully fighting high intensity conflict with peer nations. Having direct contact between common people of different cultures is critical to diffuse war and possible nuclear annihilation. Denying this unfiltered contact between common people by totalitarian regimes like ours is done to maintain ignorance and power, despite complete failure as to leadership competency.

    • Most of those people too are political prisoners subject to forced labor making trade goods to sell to us. Yes, maybe the assembly should punish them as well.

  14. I would suggest that anyone unfamiliar with the Russian Far East go to the link Suzanne provided. We can’t damn a hard earned friendship between people at the whim of popular politics. These people have absolutely nothing to do with their government’s misdeeds, anymore than we should be responsible for the Biden administration. Contact your representatives and let’s put a stop to this.

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