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Reykjavik Mayor Wants to Cut City's Ties with Moscow Over Russian Capital's Stance on Gay Rights

Moscow and Reykjavik, Iceland are "sister cities", and Reykjavik Mayor Jon Gnarr wants to end that relationship over Moscow's anti-gay laws, The Reykjavik Grapevine reports:

GnarrThe proposal was put forth during a City Council meeting yesterday, Vísir reports. Should the proposal pass it would effectively terminate all political and cultural relations between Reykjavík and Moscow.

“In light of the developments that have taken place in recent years in matters of gay, bisexual, and transgender people in Russia, the Human Rights Office and the Mayor’s Office have entrusted the deputy mayor to propose amendments to the existing agreement between the two cities or terminate it all together following consultation with the Foreign Ministry,” read the minutes from the City Council meeting.

In 2007 Reykjavík and Moscow became sister cities, an agreement that would see the municipalities exchanging information, and cooperate on policies regarding youth and family.

The severing of the relationship will require oversight from the Foreign Ministry, they report.

You may recall that in 2010 Gnarr donned a dress, wig, and make-up to ride in the city's Gay Pride parade, and joined a protest agains the imprisonment of three Pussy Riot rockers in Russia.

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  1. Við elskum Jón Gnarr!!!

    Posted by: Juan Cruz | Jul 13, 2013 9:51:42 AM

  2. This is a great idea!

    Is your city a sister city to a Russian city? If so, why not start a campaign to get your city to sever ties with its Russian sister city?

    Posted by: peterparker | Jul 13, 2013 10:02:45 AM

  3. This is a great idea for a protest. Chicago, you're next! Berlin? London? Paris?

    Posted by: Dastius Krazitauc | Jul 13, 2013 10:28:04 AM

  4. Feisty, Reykjavik! Feisty!

    Posted by: Leroy Laflamme | Jul 13, 2013 10:37:41 AM

  5. others beat me to it, but this should be happening all across the united states.

    Posted by: bandanajack | Jul 13, 2013 10:45:43 AM

  6. Should be happening around the world.
    Bravo Jon Gnarr!

    Posted by: JONES | Jul 13, 2013 10:48:22 AM

  7. The Sister Cities project is actually a really good one. They have done tremendous work under the radar to advance democracy around the world and promote understanding across cultural lines.

    So I'm conflicted on this. I can understand the desire to cut ties to Moscow, but when you are dealing with a homophobic country, wouldn't it be better to continue to have student exchanges so that Russians can come to Iceland and see that gays are not to be afraid of? By showing them what a real open society that treats all citizens fairly is a good model?

    Sure, canceling it sends a signal, but it only isolates Russia even more. Worse, I don't think it will really affect anything. If we want to create the next generation of Russians who are more open minded and demand better of their government, we should encourage more trade and openness, not less.

    We have lost today in Russia. It's tomorrow we should be fighting for. And this program helps mold tomorrow's generation. In the long run, I think we should keep this program and in fact double it up.

    Posted by: Randy | Jul 13, 2013 11:22:15 AM

  8. Randy, if the sister city program helps mold tomorrow's generation, what happened to the last few generations that were molded through the sister city program and are responsible for this discriminatory new law?

    Posted by: ger | Jul 13, 2013 11:50:05 AM

  9. Another reason why Reykjavik is one of my favorite cities and gets my tourism dollars. Love this place so much.

    Posted by: Jack | Jul 13, 2013 12:19:37 PM

  10. Randy. What if some of the exchange students to Russia were gay? I'm not sure of the consequences considering the extreme homophobia that exists in Russia today.

    Posted by: sylvatica | Jul 13, 2013 12:47:27 PM

  11. Brilliant! And a good reminder that everyone should visit Iceland - one of the most amazing and beautiful countries on the planet.

    Posted by: Paul | Jul 13, 2013 3:48:15 PM

  12. LOVE HIM!

    Posted by: darkorient | Jul 15, 2013 1:38:27 PM

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