Petrozavodsk, Russia

Established as a Sister City in 1987, Petrozavodsk and Duluth now share a long history of collaboration and cooperation. Thanks to this long-standing relationship, we Duluthians have benefited enormously from our friendship with the kind-hearted thoughtful partners we have found in this part of Northwestern Russia. With over 250,000 inhabitants, Petrozavodsk, or Petro, is one of the biggest cities in the area. The city was originally founded by Peter the Great in 1703, because of the vast resources of the northern forest. The hillside of Petrozavodsk gently slopes downward towards the coast of the majestic inland lake, Lake Onega, and much like Duluth’s downtown area, Petrozavodsk has a waterfront lake walk with sculptures from its many sister cities.

-Here you can see the members of the October 2014 Delegation on the lake walk in Petrozavodsk, next to the famous sculpture from Duluth. This trip was part of the New Steps best practices exchange.

Our relationship with Petrozavodsk has supported medical exchanges, student exchanges, music, dance and art exchanges, as well as several far-reaching programs that explored new ways to support a healthy youth population in our communities. We are currently working to reestablish our medical exchange. If you are interested in joining us for any of these projects, helping out, or just finding out more about our sister city in Russia, please email Dan Nolan, the Petro Committee Chair (dnolan (at)

During the past year, our relationship with Petrozavodsk has supported a best practices exchange for at-risk children and families. In this project, partners in Social Work, City Social Services, Russian Area Studies and a wide array of community organizations and city social services in both Petrozavodsk and Duluth are working together to articulate best practices for dealing with emerging areas of concern for at risk children and families. Our work is collaborative, and the areas of focus in this project are determined as the conversation continues between experts, practitioners and volunteers working in our communities. At the outset of the project we identified several areas of focus, including Sex Trafficking, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders, Domestic Abuse, Child Abuse and Raising Emotionally Healthy Children. As we continue, we work to keep our eyes and ears open for new areas of focus, learning as much as we can from each other in what has proven to be a powerful international exchange of experience and expertise.

To learn more, visit the New Steps website, or email Dan Nolan (dnolan (at) to find out how you can get involved.