2018 became a landmark for the region – in November, in the framework of the 35th plenary session of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, in which the Leningrad Region participates in accordance with the decree of the President of the Russian Federation, the Russian delegation unanimously voted to elect the Governor of the Leningrad Region A. Yu. Drozdenko as the head of the national delegation. Then A. Yu. Drozdenko was elected to the supreme executive body – the Bureau of the Congress as the Deputy Chairman of the Congress. The Congress represents more than 200 thousand European municipalities and regions from 47 countries, being a platform for discussing common problems, for sharing experience and developing interaction.
An important platform for the development of economic contacts with the European Union is regular business forums in the territory of the Leningrad Region and our partner region, the Federal Land Mecklenburg-Vorpommern (Germany).
On October 17, the Governor of the Leningrad Region, A. Yu. Drozdenko, took part in the opening of the business forum “Day of Russia in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern – 2018. The 3rd Day of Entrepreneurs” in Rostock. The forum was attended by over 850 participants – representatives of federal, regional and municipal authorities and business circles of the Russian Federation and the Federal Republic of Germany. During the roundtable discussions, representatives of the Leningrad Region made presentations in the fields of economy and investments, logistics and marine economy, energy, aquaculture, education, waste management.
On September 14, at the final conference of the Russian-German Regional-Municipal Partnerships Year in Berlin, the practice of holding these business forums was rewarded with the award for the best interregional innovation project, which was presented by the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Russia and Germany, Sergey Lavrov and Heiko Maas. At the Conference, an agreement on cooperation between Vyborg and Greifswald was also signed, the cities that are connected by the largest economic project Nord Stream.
Anniversary events dedicated to the 30th anniversary of the establishment of friendly relations between the regions were held in the Leningrad Region and the Province of Nordland, the Kingdom of Norway. During a visit to the province of Nordland on May 2831, a delegation from the Leningrad Region headed by Governor A. Yu. Drozdenko visited facilities for fish-breeding infrastructure, rescue services, an advanced emergency assistance laboratory, waste disposal facilities and educational institutions. At the plenary meeting in Bodø, the sides discussed issues of cooperation in the economic sphere in a wide range of areas, including shipbuilding, petrochemistry, construction and tourism, the possibility of implementing investment projects in the field of aquaculture with the participation of Norwegian capital in the territory of the Leningrad Region, creation of joint educational programs on the basis of higher educational institutions of the Leningrad Region and the province of Nordland, the exchange of experience between social services, measures of support and development of humanitarian ties, expansion of contacts between municipalities.
In connection with the Years of Russian-Chinese Interregional Cooperation in 20182019 in the Leningrad Region and the partner region of Hebei Province (the PRC), a number of events were held aimed at intensifying cooperation in the sphere of culture, education and youth policy. In 2018, the delegations of Hebei, Jiangxi, Henan, Qinghai provinces, cities of central subordination of Tianjin of the PRC, visited the Leningrad Region. During the meetings and joint events, issues of investment projects in the Leningrad Region, trade and economic cooperation, promising areas of cooperation in the transport sector, in the field of logistics, as well as projects in the field of tourism and culture were discussed.
Within the framework of the Cross Year of Russia in Japan and Japan in Russia, the Days of Japan film festival took place in the Siversky Urban Settlement of the Gatchina Municipal District and in the village of Mga in the Kirovsky Municipal District of the Leningrad Region. In the autumn of 2018, students and teachers of colleges in the Leningrad Region underwent internships in the partner region of Kyoto Prefecture in the following specialties: mechatronics, turnery, system design, construction of buildings and structures. The Leningrad Region and Kyoto Prefecture are very successful in organizing children's drawing contests, the best of which are sent to be exhibited in the partner region.
In 2018, the 10th anniversary of regional cooperation between the Leningrad Region and the Province of South Chungcheong Province of the Republic of Korea in the field of exchanging sports delegations was celebrated. During August 28 – September 6, a delegation of the Province of South Chungcheong Province headed by the head of the department of international cooperation of the Government of the Province of South Chungcheong Province Choi Won Hyeok visited the Leningrad Region during which the issues of continuing fruitful cooperation at the regional level in connection with the election in June 2018 of the new Governor of the Province of South Chungcheong Province Yang Seung Jo were worked out. During the visit, the delegation took part in the opening ceremony of the International training event in table tennis for national teams of the Leningrad Region and the Province of South Chungcheong Province in the Siversky Urban Settlement of the Gatchina District.
The Leningrad Region is actively using one of the main tools for the socio-economic development of the border regions, which is cooperation within the framework of the cross-border cooperation programs between Russia and the EU. The Leningrad Region takes part in three programs of cross-border cooperation between Russia and the EU: “Russia – South-Eastern Finland” for the period until 2020; “Russia – Estonia” for the period until 2020; “Russia – Latvia” for the period up to 2020, as well as in the program of cross-border cooperation “Interreg. Region of The Baltic Sea”, within which joint projects are implemented in such areas as economy, innovation and education, tourism, environmental protection, entrepreneurship development, logistics, support for effective local and regional governance.
In accordance with the state policy regarding Russian compatriots living abroad, the Leningrad Region carries out activities aimed at consolidating the Russian-speaking diaspora.
In 2018, the 8th Leningrad Youth Forum named after A. Nevsky for Russian compatriots abroad, the Youth Educational Forum “Ladoga”, the 8th Baltic Forum of Compatriots, which were attended by compatriots from more than 35 countries, were traditionally held.
An important part of the work is carrying out activities to promote Russian culture. Annually, tours of regional creative and theatrical groups, creative workshops are held. Performances are traditionally held with great success and have a positive response in the foreign press.
Special attention is paid to the preservation of objective military-historical information, including the Great Patriotic War, and to perpetuate the memory of Soviet soldiers who died in the struggle against the German fascist invaders.
During the visits of foreign delegations to the Leningrad Region, visits to memorial facilities, memorial sites associated with the events of the Great Patriotic War and the role of the Soviet Union in the victory over Nazism are necessarily organized. Memorable events and patriotic rallies with the participation of foreign partners, thematic conferences, competitions for the knowledge of the history of the countries of the partner regions are held on a regular basis.
For example, with the Lower Silesian Voivodeship of the Republic of Poland, competitions are held for knowledge of the country and the partner region, geography, history and culture of Poland and Russia, respectively. The competition is of great interest among Russian and Polish youth. Since 2009, more than 3,200 pupils of schools in the Leningrad Region and more than 3,300 students of the gymnasiums of the Lower Silesian Voivodeship of the Republic of Poland took part in the competition.
The Leningrad Region attaches great importance to the strengthening of friendly relations and the development of public diplomacy. Once again, the already traditional international “Motor Rally for Peace – 2018. The Baltic route” passed across the territory of the Leningrad Region, initiated by individuals of the German civil initiative for the development of friendship between the peoples of Russia and Germany. The rally participants met with the residents of the Leningrad Region, laid flowers at the war memorials in the Vsevolozhsk, Kirov, Vyborg, Lodeynopolsky and Tikhvin Districts of the Leningrad Region.
In 2018, a unique cultural and historical project was implemented – the “Titans on the Road” equestrian march, following the ancient trade route “Helweg” from German Brück to Veliky Novgorod. The purpose of the campaign was the demonstration of friendly relations between the inhabitants of Europe and Russia and the cultural and historical community of European and Russian territories. The participants of the march, moving on heavy horses, spent almost three months on the road. The length of the equestrian run on the territory of Kingiseppsky, Volosovsky and Luzhsky Districts of the Leningrad Region was about 300 km.
Pursuant to the Decree of the President of the Russian Federation dated May 7, 2018,
No. 204 “On the national goals and strategic objectives of the development of the Russian Federation for the period up to 2024” in the field of development of international cooperation in 2018, the Leningrad Region continued its interaction with the Republic of Armenia, the Republic of Belarus, the Republic of Kazakhstan.
As part of the continuation of the multi-year partnership of the Leningrad Region with the Republic of Belarus, on May 23, 2018, the 7th joint meeting of the working group on cooperation between the Leningrad Region and the Republic of Belarus was held under the chairmanship of the Governor of the Leningrad Region A. Yu. Drozdenko and the First Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Belarus V. S. Matyushevsky which resulted in plans for the further development of cooperation in various fields of activity, including the expansion of cooperative ties, the implementation of innovative projects, investment activities, as well as the agro-industrial complex, transport, energy efficiency, construction, education, culture and tourism.