Did You Know About This Maine-Russia Connection?
There's lots of talk about Russia these days. And most of it is not good. But here's a nice connection that might help foster some more peace and understanding between the US and Russia. It's Portland's Sister City program.
Does Portland Have a Sister City?
Archangel or Архангельск in Russian is a city of about 400,000 people in Northwestern Russia and will remind you of Portland. Archangel became a sister city with us in 1988, and since then, according to archangelportland.org:
"Over the course of 30 years, many Russians have visited Maine. Teachers, professors, doctors, lawyers, actors, musicians, artists, firefighters, police, college students, and school children have come over to experience life and work in the Greater Portland area. Our counterparts in Archangel have welcomed similar categories of Americans to their city, located on the banks of the Northern Dvina."
This sister city is a cool idea. And something that we really need right now. With everything going on with the war in Ukraine, it's easy to make all Russians our enemies. But it's really their authoritarian/totalitarian government that we have the problem with. The exchange of ideas and friendships between Portland and Archangel is true Citizen Diplomacy at its best...and hopefully can successfully promote peace. We have so much more in common with Archangel than we realize!
As you look at these beautiful photos of Archangel, you see a lot of similarities with Portland. They have a city beach, kind of like East End Beach.
Archangel is a busy port just like us, too! The economy is based on the timber and paper industry, and has become a tourist hot spot as of late. Sound familiar?
This shot reminds me of Portland's old Million Dollar Bridge and Casco Bay! One big difference between Archangel and Portland is that the Russian city, being fairly close to the Arctic Circle, gets only about 3 hours of light in the winter. And the sun rises at 2 am in the summer!
Thought it would be good to drop this video in. It's a good reminder that the people of Archangel probably have the same hope, dreams, and fears (and cold winters) that we do in Portland.
Portland does have three other Sister Cities of note. Shinagawa, Japan; Cap-Haitien, Haiti; and Mytilene, Greece. You can find out more about the Portland sister cities here.
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