The contemporary development of the concept of the twin cities: the case of cross-border cooperation between Narva and Ivangorad
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The post-World War Two period witnessed an intensive development of such a form of international cooperation as twin cities. Stronger and more intensive cooperation between borderland municipalities of neighboring states was possible due to the realization of the fact that thanks to this integration instrument it was possible to jointly overcome crisis laden situations and phenomena. The common cultural and historical heritage maintained through this instrument contributes to normalization and thriving of border areas of states. This process is of special importance for those borders which are located between Russia and European Union and/or NATO member states. This Master’s thesis considers the role of local governments in creating the points of contact between the twin cities which stimulate in their turn larger networks of contacts at different levels. It also shows how the theory of securitization (without which it is impossible to imagine a Conception of twin cities) makes an impact on relations between border municipalities. I have considered the case of Narva and Ivangorod as twin cities, which currently have achieved impressive results in developing a long term and sustainable model of cooperation. In order to support the evidential base of my paper, I consider two other pairs of twin cities, which are located in situation similar to that of Narva and Ivangorod, specifically Imatra-Svetogorsk and Kirkeness- Nikel. The process of securitization which permeates the level of both bilateral relations (Estonia – Russia), NATO – Russia and EU-Russia levels, when reaching the inter-municipal level, bеcomes weaker and damped as if there is a “safety bag”. At the lowest level (considering the Narva-Ivangorod case), we see the detailed, preplanned cooperation, several bilateral agreements signed, visits of officials, preconditioned by the joint municipal agenda, spontaneous meetings, which are the catalysts of forming a bilateral inter-municipal cooperation. The thesis tries to prove conclusively that NATO, the EU and Estonia (on the one hand) and Russia (on the other hand) are quite interested in securing their state border safe and peaceful. Thus, in contrast to the “top power” level, at a lower (inter-municipal) level, the relations between Narva and Ivangorod have been in the desecuritized status despite the attempts made by the central governments of the states of concern and international organizations involved as well as other actors to “heat up” the situation at the both sides of the Narva river. The non-traditional actors such as the city twins (border adjacent municipalities) represent an actors in the international relations, together with the states, transnational corporations, international governmental and nongovernmental organizations. The mutual relations between Narva and Ivangorod are in contrast to the relations between NATO and Russia, the EU and Russia, Estonia and Russia.