The capital may forge a Twin-City agreement with Stavrapol, the capital city of Stavrapol Krai, an administrative division in south-west Russia. The Russian Cultural Centre in the city will submit a proposal to Mayor K. Chandrika and her counterpart at Stavrapol on developing relations between the two cities, in light of the progress made by the Kochi Corporation in linking with a city in the same ‘krai’ (equivalent of an Indian State) called Pyatigorsk.

Russia is keen on strengthening regional cooperation between cities in the two countries, said Consul of the Russian Federation and the Director of the Russian Cultural Centre Ratheesh C. Nair.

In June last year, Kochi Mayor Tony Chammany had a led a delegation from the Corporation to Pyatigorsk as part of preliminary discussions. The Union Ministries of Urban Development, External Affairs, and Finance will scrutinise the agreement before giving a no-objection certificate for the two cities to cooperate on a range of development areas including education, tourism, solid waste management, and culture. By September, the Twin-City agreement will be finalised between Kochi and Pyatigorsk.

Thrissur’s choice

Next in line is Thrissur. The Russian Cultural Centre has organised a visit for Thrissur Mayor I.P. Paul on August 23 to the city of Essenthuki.

Mr. Paul and Kollam Mayor Prasanna Earnest attended a seminar organised by the Russian Cultural Centre here on Wednesday to detail the process of forging a twinning agreement.

Meet with Mayor

Mayor K. Chandrika was unable to attend but she has invited the Consul to explain the prospects of an alliance between Thiruvananthapuram and Stavrapol.

Stavrapol is renowned for its health spa resorts and mineral springs — facets it shares with Kerala, as tourists are drawn from all over the world especially for the Ayurveda treatment here. A key difference between the local administrative systems of Russia and India is that a Mayor in Russia is almost as powerful as a Chief Minister here.

Kollam’s stance

At the seminar, Ms. Earnest also expressed interest in initiating procedures to link Kollam with a city in Russia.

She said she needed to understand the terms of the agreement and its impact on the city’s development before presenting it in the Corporation council.