I just returned from a 10-day trip to Russia, where I visited Moscow, St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, and Vladivostok -- the host city to the 2012 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Summit. As the Special Representative for Global Intergovernmental Affairs, I lead the Department of State's efforts to collaborate with state and local leaders and their counterparts abroad. While in Russia, I met with representatives of the federal and local authorities, as well as leaders of Russia's business and academic communities, to discuss and further the development of a U.S.-Russia subnational engagement effort.
During these meetings, we discussed a framework for expanding opportunities for engagement between the United States and Russia at the subnational level. This framework would provide the foundation for potential cooperation in trade and investment, education, and sharing best practices at the local and regional levels.
While in Russia, I met with Moscow Oblast Governor Sergei Shoigu, Leningrad Oblast Governor Aleksander Drozdenko , the Vice Governor of Primorsky Krai Oblast; and the Mayors of Moscow City, St. Petersburg, Vladivostok, and Artem City.
Our delegation had positive meetings in every city and oblast -- an administrative division -- we visited. Both Moscow City and Moscow Oblast offered specific ideas for cooperation. Governor Drozdenko highlighted the upcoming 20th anniversary of Leningrad Oblast's partnership with the State of Maryland as a positive example of U.S.-Russian inter-regional cooperation.
Additionally, in my discussion with Vladivostok Mayor Igor Pushkaryov, he outlined the city's plans for the upcoming APEC Summit and his interest in attracting more U.S. businesses.
I also had the opportunity to meet with University and rotary club members while in Russia. I was struck by their energy and their obvious commitment to strengthening partnerships with their U.S. counterparts. It was heartening to meet with people who are passionate about improving the lives of their cities and regions.
Over the past three and a half years, the United States and Russia have continued to broaden and deepen our cooperation to address shared challenges. As Secretary Clinton has said, "Our people are connected in more ways than ever before." In that spirit, my office will endeavor to expand and develop ties between U.S. and Russian cities and regions. This fall, we will provide support to Russian officials scheduled to visit Nebraska and Kansas.