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Mexico and Russia at the subnational level

- The United Mexican States and the Russian Federation are countries that have established relations of equality and respect for several decades.

Mexico and Russia at the subnational level

The United Mexican States and the Russian Federation are countries that have established relations of equality and respect for several decades. Due to the fact that, broadly speaking, they share a similar political system, and taking into account the concept of local diplomacy1, there is the possibility that these two nations carry out cooperative activities between their local governments. However, beyond the possibility, have the governments of these two entities really established relations at the subnational level?

The purpose of this document is to reflect the relations between Mexico and Russia based on the concept of local diplomacy, taking into account the records of inter-institutional agreements and the interactions carried out during 2021 based on the actions compiled in the Local Mexican Diplomacy Bulletins. , published by the Commission for Local Diplomacy Studies (CEDL) of the Mexican Center for International Relations (CEMERI).

To give some historical context of relations between Mexico and Russia, it is worth going back to 1924, the year in which Mexico was the first country on the American continent to establish diplomatic relations with the then Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR). This is how, from the beginning, relations were based on the legal equality of States, on respect for independence and sovereignty, and on non-interference in the internal affairs of the other (Embassy of the Russian Federation in the United Mexican States, s/f).

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (2021), during the second half of the 20th century, contacts between the USSR and Mexico were strengthened and expanded to different areas of collaboration: economic, cultural, educational development, respect for international law and coordination at the multilateral level, among other issues. After the dissolution of the USSR, both Mexico and the now Russian Federation assumed their previous commitments in terms of agreements and treaties, thus giving continuity to the bilateral relationship.

Regarding this, it should be mentioned that "in the first decade of the 21st century, and mainly due to the specific weight of Russia and Mexico on the international stage and in their respective regions, dialogue was streamlined at the highest level" (SRE, 2021 ) giving space to meetings, especially at the State level, between the presidents and diplomats of both nations.

On the other hand, given the increasing involvement of local governments in the global scenario, because "local diplomacy can have a substantive impact on the conduct of foreign relations in the contemporary international system" (Schiavon, 2018) and With the historically established bilateral relationship between the United Mexican States and the Russian Federation, it can be explained how in recent years there has been collaboration between Mexico and Russia and the local governments of the respective countries.

In this sense, the following table shows a compilation of inter-institutional agreements, which are tools of local diplomacy, provided by the General Directorate of Political Coordination of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mexico (SRE), between local Mexican actors and Russia, The oldest of them being the one signed by the State of Mexico and the Moscow region, in 1999.

Inter-institutional agreements between Mexico and Russia

< td>Board of the State Cultural and Tourist Services Units – State University of Human Sciences of the Russian Federation
Federative EntityTypeBetweenDescriptionSubject of the AgreementDate signed Validity
State of MexicoState State Government – Moscow Region, Russian Federation.Cooperation Agreement between the Government of the Free State and Sovereign of Mexico of the United Mexican States and the Government of the Moscow Region of the Russian Federation.Multi-thematic.< /td>October 11, 1999.Not specified.
ColimaStateUniversity of Colima and Russian Friendship University, Russia.Scientific Collaboration Agreement celebrated by: the University Rusa de la Amistad de las pueblos and the University of Colima, Mexico.Education.October 15, 2003.31 December 2005. -Completed-
PueblaStateMeritorious Autonomous University of Puebla – Moscow State University, Russia.Specific Collaboration Agreement between the Meritorious Autonomous University of Puebla, Mexico and the Moscow State University “M.V. Lomonosov”, Russia.Education.July 17, 2007.July 16, 2011. -Completed-
OaxacaStateAutonomous University “Benito Juárez” of Oaxaca and the State University of Kazan, Russia.Collaboration agreement that Collaboration celebrated on the one hand by the Autonomous University "Benito Juárez" of Oaxaca Represented by its Rector Mtro. Rafael Torres Valdéz and on the other the Kazan State University, represented by Prof., Dr. Myakzyum Jalimullovich Salakhov, Parties that will be referred to respectively and hereinafter as “UABJO” and “UEK”.Education.July 23, 2008.July 22, 2012. -Completed-< /strong>
PueblaStateBenemeritus Autonomous University of Puebla – Kazan State University, Russia. Memorandum of Understanding between the Kazan State University, Russian Federation and the Meritorious Autonomous University of Puebla.Education.July 23, 2008.July 22, 2012. -Completed-
ColimaStateUniversity of Colima and the Russian State University of Economics and Commerce, Russia.Collaboration Agreement between the University of Colima (Mexico) and the Russian State University of Economics and Trade (Moscow, Russia)Education.June 21, 2010.June 20, 2013 -Completed-
ColimaStateUniversity of Colima and the F.M Dostoyevski University of Omsk, Russia.Collaboration Agreement between the University of Colima of the United Mexican States and the F.M Dostoyevski University of Omsk of the Russian Federation.Education.June 17, 2011.June 16, 2015. -Completed-< /strong>
YucatánStateBoard of State Cultural and Tourist Services Units – Russian State University of Humanities, Russian Federation.Collaboration Agreement between the Board of the Cultural and Tourist Services Units of the State of Yucatan, of the United Mexican States, and the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sports, Russian State University of Humanities.Education.2012.December 31, 2014. - Finished-
Mexico CityStateMexico City – Moscow, Russia. October 20, 2014.Indefinite.
YucatánStateAgreement between the Board of Trustees of the State of Yucatan Cultural and Tourist Services of the United Mexican States and the State University of Human Sciences of the Russian Federation on Cultural Cooperation.”Cultural.October 30, 2014. Indefinite.
ColimaStateUniversity of Colima and Universidad F.M.Dostoevsky of Omsk, Russia.Collaboration Agreement between the University of Colima of the United Mexican States and the University of Omsk F.M. Dostoevsky of the Russian Federation.Education.May 28, 2015.May 27, 2019. < em>-Finished-

Source: Own elaboration with data from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Mexico.

In this way, it can be observed that, although the relations at the subnational level between Mexico and Russia are not so abundant, it does cover an acceptable variety of topics, among which are the economy, health and culture. In addition, it highlights that relations have been established mainly with federal entities of Mexico rather than with municipalities of the same country.

On the other hand, and more recently, during 2021 several activities consistent with the concept of local diplomacy between Mexican local governments and Russia were registered. This record was carried out in the twelve editions of the Mexican Local Diplomacy Bulletin from January to December of that year, prepared by the CEMERI CEDL.

The first interaction takes place on January 19, when Russian businessmen showed interest in the production of the Sputnik V vaccine against Covid-19 in Nuevo León, dealing with health issues and foreign investment. During the meeting, it was mentioned that the secretary of health of Nuevo León had the intention of traveling to Russia to acquire samples of the vaccine, as well as to investigate the facilities that can be provided for their presence in Neo-Leonese territory to materialize, in order to produce the medicine locally and it reaches the inhabitants of the state and the entire country (Gopar and Pérez, 2021).

Also in relation to vaccination against Covid-19, in March 2021 the Governor of Aguascalientes, Martín Orozco Sandoval, had a meeting with ambassadors from various countries, including Viktor V. Koronelli, Russian ambassador to Mexico, with the aim of strengthen ties of cooperation in economic and health matters, especially the interest in the acquisition of doses of the Sputnik V vaccine of Russian origin. (Gopar and Perez, 2021).

In the cultural field, various events were held where Russia was a guest country. We can mention the Chihuahua International Festival "Transcends Borders", the International Exhibition of Handicrafts, Jewelry and Decoration "TlaqueArte", in Torreón, and the XII Meeting of Foreign Communities, in Zacatecas, in the months of July, August and October respectively, as well as as in Danzatlán 2021, International Dance Festival held in the State of Mexico in August, in which the Russian Igor Moiseyev stood out in Ballet. (Gopar, Pérez and Estrada, 2021).

On education issues, it should be noted that, in August 2021, a student from Morelos won a call to take a summer course at the Samara Aerospace University, Russia. This would represent, at the time, the opportunity for an inter-university link between the Polytechnic University of the State of Morelos and the University of Samara (Gopar, Pérez and Estrada, 2021).

Finally, a significant point in both subnational and national relations between Mexico and Russia was the inauguration of the Honorary Consulate of the Russian Federation in Puebla, in October 2021, which was carried out "with the objective of expanding the channels of collaboration and cooperation with Russia” (Gopar, Pérez and Estrada, 2021). With this action, it seeks to strengthen the relationship with Mexico, and at the same time it can be used by Puebla in order to carry out tourist and commercial promotion work, help with consular matters, protection and assistance, among other matters.

With the above mentioned, we can realize that the relations between Mexico and Russia at the subnational level are in force, that most of them have continued to work on economic and cultural issues, and that they also focus on relations with federal entities, not with municipalities, exception of the activity carried out by Torreón, Coahuila.

It is even worth noting that, given the current world situation, health issues gained relevance in the subnational agenda of the two countries, referring to the meetings between the governors of Nuevo León and Aguascalientes with businessmen and the Russian diplomatic corps. in order to be able to produce the Sputnik V vaccine in their territories. Without a doubt, this reflects the relevance of the states in the relationship with the Eurasian country and the importance of continuing with the efforts of the states to insert themselves into the international media.

By way of conclusion, we must comment that the situation the world is going through at the beginning of 2022 can be analyzed from different perspectives. Mexico correctly carries out, in its role as intermediary and avid defender of diplomatic means for the peaceful solution of conflicts, its position in the corresponding organizations so that the current crisis is resolved as quickly as possible, and with the consequences that each person responsible must face.

Undoubtedly, the events that are currently taking place will mark a significant distance in the diplomatic relations of Mexico and Russia, which will have direct repercussions in the subnational sphere. Due to this, the federal entities that maintain cooperation projects with actors from Russia must reconsider everything that the current situation entails and whether or not it is valid to continue with said projects.

Fortunately, it is also time to strengthen cooperation ties with entities that seek better opportunities to counteract the effects of decisions made in the international sphere and within different countries. The path of peace and cooperation will always find a way to continue, despite all adversities.

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CEMERI, . “México y Rusia a nivel subnacional.” CEMERI, 14 ago. 2023,